Everything I need to know, I learned from ‘You’ve Got Mail’

Two things: A) yes, I wrote about Sleepless in Seattle last week and B) Thursday is Tom Hanks’ birthday. Are these things related? Totally. Is Sleepless in Seattle better than You’ve Got Mail? Debatable, but I lean toward Sleepless for a number of reasons. That being said, I don’t say negative things about Ephron, Hanks, or even Meg Ryan. Following Sleepless with You’ve Got Mail only makes sense to me. Also, I recommend you listen to YGM’s soundtrack while reading this because it is delightful.

1. The Internet is a real place. 
Because this movie is slightly outdated, “The Internet” is spoken of like some kind of unrealistic venue for desperate singles and people who cannot connect to people in real life. Almost 20 years later (yikes, I know), we all know that is not true. Yes, the Internet can be harmful and scary and very unrealistic, however it is a real place for human connection. I have met and also only e-met some of the best people I know through my various Internet communities, and I am not ashamed to say that out loud. The social side of the Internet in 1998 may have been new and weird, but in 2015, we almost all likely have stories about solid real connections made online. And that’s OK. In fact, it’s wonderful.

2. Owning a bookstore is the best job. 
When I was a kid, I wanted to either own a bookstore or be a wedding planner, and both of those were absolutely because of movies I liked and nothing else. (The wedding planner thing came from The Wedding Planner, if that was unclear.) Being a wedding planner would be a terrible job for me because I’m slightly anti-weddings for a variety of reasons, one of which is the financial detriment and the others all kind of involve traditional stuff I’m against (fyi: I will still cry at your wedding.) On top of all of that, I suck at planning stuff. A bookstore however? That is still my dream. If I could get by even working at a bookstore, I would be working at a bookstore. Kathleen’s bookstore in particular.

3. The idea of someone else can be a killer. 

I broke up with my last boyfriend because of someone else, though I have never met (or have yet to fall in love with) this someone else. That line—”there’s the dream of someone else”—is the stuff my Nora-Ephronesque-idealistic-sense-of-romance is made of. Lately, I have been reading Aziz Ansari‘s new book Modern Romance and have been forced into thinking about the way I perceive what I want vs. what I deserve. Ansari has the argument that we all think we deserve the very best because of our wide-range of options these days, which of course is not necessarily a bad thing. I definitely think I deserve the best, which is why the dream of someone else has always been alive and well in the depths of my heart, even when I am in a relationship with someone else. No one has wowed me yet, and I think it is ok to dream of them until they do.

(Probs won’t be someone with the screen name NY152 though.)

4. The Godfather is the greatest movie of all time. 
For whatever reason, YGM is riddled with Godfather references, and for whatever reason, The Godfather is my absolute, cannot-argue-with-me, favorite movie. Sure, I usually say it is Titanic or Love Actually or When Harry Met Sally, but I would never argue that any of those films are the greatest movie ever made. Like Joe, it is hard for me to not relate everything in life right back to The Godfather. And I love that about myself. And Joe.

5. Bravery v. Responsibility is the ultimate struggle.
Kathleen has a few lines, either written or spoken aloud, that break my heart. I am always open to breaking my heart though—it’s just the best way to learn a thing. Kathleen tells Joe—or rather NY152:

First of all, her referring to him as “dear void” is really sweet, albeit kind of sad. Secondly, have we not all pondered the very same question? Few of us are living great, big lives, for whatever reason. The reason I have always supplied is that my family grew up very poor, and I am very fortunate to be in a somewhat comfortable position in my current daily life. I still don’t have very much money, and I still owe the government my first three children and any life savings I ever accrue, but I feel comfortable, and comfortable feels secure, and secure feels unfamiliar. I embrace it. But. I too have the days I think I should move to New York City, or Los Angeles, or Denver, Colorado just because it’s new and different. There are days I think I should chase and chase until I feel settled in my spontaneity. If you haven’t thought about leaving your small life for something more brave, I envy the hell out of you.

6. Change just sort of sucks. 
Another Kathleen-ism that gets me is when she laments about the big ol’ change thing. For Kathleen, giving up her bookstore is the change she is having a hard time accepting (and no duh). Kathleen relates losing her bookstore to losing her mother. Though I have never lost a mother (or a bookstore, tbh), I understand the feeling of loss conveying the other losses in your life. Losing a pet feels like losing a sibling. A loss of innocence can feel almost palpable. And, most times, change feels like loss, and in my opinion, it is okay to mourn change. People say it is good for you, but in the height of it, it can feel really, really awful. There’s no joy without sadness, so ride it out and embrace all of the feelings that may come into your life because of it.

7. Books are life. 

Did you read Harry Potter as a kid? Did you either introduce you to reading, or spare you from depression, or both? I have an HP story that will bring a tear to your eye, though I have a matching story for every book that I read as a kid. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Roots, A Bridge to Terabithia, and so on and so forth. I know you do too. Books shape kids. (And adults, hi.)

8. Daisies are the friendliest flower. 
Well, Kathleen says it, and even if daisies are a weed (aren’t they?) I gotta agree. I love a good ol’ daisy.

9. It’s personal, not business. 
(Ohp! Another Godfather ref!)

And isn’t that the truth? Whenever we say “it’s business, not personal,” we all know we are lying through our teeth. And also I guess that we would make terrible mobsters. But on a serious level, there really isn’t anything wrong with being personal, or feeling personally victimized, or wanting to BE more personal in general. We are persons after all!

10. You can fall in love on the Internet. 
Someone commented that Sleepless in Seattle was unrealistic because they fell in love before they met, and if that is true, than this movie is extra unrealistic because they start to fall in love before they meet and don’t even like each other in real life, and then decide to get past it all. THAT BEING SAID I disagree with all of those sentiments. You absolutely can fall in love with someone before you meet them. I have done that because Twitter is a crazy magical thing. Not only have I fallen in love with a lot of my friends before I met them in real life, but I really fell in love with a wonderful man over Twitter. Yeah, it’s crazy and you wouldn’t think it would happen, but we moved from the Internet to our phones to meeting in real life and hey, it can happen. It happened for Joe and Kathleen, and it happens for millions of couples (I made up that statistic) all of the time. Don’t close your mind to love, kids. It can happen anywhere.

T.HANKS for reading!!!

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