The GraduateOver the weekend, I re-watched The Graduate. It's been a decade and a half since I've seen that movie. There is a scene towards the end of the movie where Dustin Hoffman is pounding on a large glass window on a balcony overlooking the altar where his love interest is about to get married. In his desperate attempt to halt the ceremony, he repeatedly yells her name.

Over time that scene grew on me, but for whatever reason, I could never remember the girl's name. For years I walked around randomly and dramatically recreating the image stuck in my head:

"Juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-lie!!!"
"Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-sa!!!"
"Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-chelle!!!"
"Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer-trude!?!"
"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-dith???"

Waiting for the bus, walking into business meetings, standing in the produce aisle...it didn't matter. It turned out to be my own inside joke, and I liked it that way.

A few years ago, I was at a dinner party. Not knowing many people, my sole objective was to nod pleasantly and politely dodge typical passive-aggressive comments without pissing anyone off. In fact, I couldn't even tell you what the  conversation was at the time...the weather or politics or masturbation as though "they" invented it (it's a Seattle thing to show how socially progressive the city is)...I don't even know. All I remember is that out of the clear blue, this guy starts pounding his fists into an imaginary wall, shouting:

"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-laine!!!!!!!!!!!"

Not once, not twice, but three or four times with the same passion I remembered in the movie. Holy rewind, Batman? THAT was it! The out-of-context and obscure reference fell flat with everyone else, but it wasn't lost on me. I am sure you could see my pupils dilate into small hearts as I tried to explain to him my "story". Eventually people started to slowly walk away; we, however, talked and laughed for hours.

I ended up dating "that guy". Since our relationship was based on one-word punch lines, we turned out to be much better friends than lovers. Conversations were not unlike playing a game of Password without having to know what the "category" was, and neither of us ever missed. Seriously. When we did break up, my friend James (the middle-man responsible for introducing us) almost out of relief, finally admitted, "I never did understand what the hell you two were ever talking about".

To that, I held my finger annoyingly close to the bridge of his nose and taunted, "I'm not touching you, air is free, this is *completely* legal". Without missing a beat, "that guy" chimes in with, "Stop NOT touching James...don't make me have to come over there!" We both start cracking up as James walked away shaking his head in disgust. He didn't get it...again. What can I say? He's British.