I have proclaimed my love for Mr Cusack before, but let me say this: he could probably read the directions on a box of Jell-O and I'd be captivated.
Lately another movie of his has been on my mind: High Fidelity. It was released in 2000 and - if you're not familiar - covers how "Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress." (So says imdb.com, here. And, if you're really interested, it's based on a cracking Nick Hornby novel by the same name.)
He's going through a breakup, and decides it would be therapeutic to contact other women he's broken up with: "I want to see the others on the big top five. I wanna see Penny and Charlie and Sarah, all of them, you know. Just see 'em and talk to 'em, you know, like a Bruce Springsteen song."
Then The Boss himself enters the imaginary dialogue:
Boss: You call, you ask 'em how they are, and you see if they've forgiven you.
Rob: Yeah, and then I'd feel good. and they'd feel good.
Boss: No, they'd feel good maybe, but you'd feel better.
Rob: I'd feel clean and calm.
Boss: That's what you're looking for. You wanna get ready to start again, that'd be good for you.
Rob: Great, even.
Boss: You'd give that big final "good luck and goodbye" to your all-time top five and just move on down the road.
Rob: [whispers] Good luck, and goodbye...
What's been knocking around in my head is the idea, this compelling idea, that you can go back. What's more, the idea that you should go back: go and find the people from your past - the people with whom you've got unfinished business - just so you can understand. Go back and make things right.
And then Facebook went ahead and made this all a bit cliche. It's not a tantalizing pipe dream anymore: it's an everyday reality. You are now connected with your ex-boyfriend, his new wife, their teenager who's old enough to babysit - oh, and the teacher who listened to you wail about what a jerk he was.
There's no more trawling through the phone book, a la Rob:
She's in the fuckin' phone book. She should be living on Neptune! She's an extraterrestrial. A ghost, a myth, not a person in a phone book!This changes the terrain of The Deep Dark Past completely, when it comes to... processing. It's all out there, just taunting you to click on the 'Add as Friend' tab. Go ahead - ask your questions, offer your apologies, do what you need to do. You can get it off your chest in under 24 hours.
But are you brave enough - stupid enough - to do it? The guys in Hot Tub Time Machine would argue that you'll change the course of history.
Tomorrow, Part II: How Clicking the "Add a Friend" Made me Feel Like a Prize Idiot (and led to my biggest Aha! moment EVER)
To be continued.....