Dial-up insights into my ’80’s and ’90’s loving soul

What will NY152 say today, I wonder. I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail. From you.

These are probably some of my favorite lines to open a movie. Granted, they’re not exactly the opening lines, but they’re pretty close to it. “The Puppy Song” by Harry Neilson plays first. The dial-up connects. I’m about to get mail in the form of Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Greg Kinnear and Steve Zhan. Even though I’ve seen it a thousand times over, I still get giddy every time Meg goes, “I have mail. From you.”

You’ve Got Mail is one of the things I hold dear to my heart because it’s something Aunt Rose and I have been doing together since I was a kid. She’s honestly turned me on to a lot of things I’m obsessed with today, like Carole King (I was singing Where You Lead off of Tapestry at the age of two) and a keen eye for deals at Marshalls and TJ Maxx. But my love for You’ve Got Mail is probably my favorite thing that we share together. I don’t remember the exact first time I watched it, but I know I was at Aunt Rose’s place, and she had me go to this big dresser drawer filled to the brim with VHS tapes. It’s one of her favorites as well. I watched it quite a few times with her when I was younger, and when I got into high school, I watched it again and became obsessed. I know it’s really cheesy to be obsessed with this movie, but here I am. I stand tall (well, as tall as I can. I’m what they call ‘vertically challenged’) and wave boldly in the corrupt sands of Nora Ephron films.

The movie has taught me some very valuable life lessons in addition to being witty and charming:

[writing to “NY152”] Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.

Even though I’m still and college and my life has barely begun, I’d like to think I’m living a valuable life. Yes, the life I’m leading right now is very small. But I think through the people I’m sharing my life with and the experiences I’m having, I’m leading a life with some sort of value and trying to make it memorable. Every time Kathleen says this in the movie, it always reminds to me to be brave and to not be afraid to try new things. 

When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.

Is there any question that the one book I found comfort in as a kid was nothing other than Harry Potter? Potter was the one book I constantly read throughout grade school and high school–ask anyone who went to school with me, I was the nerd with a Potter book. But, in so many ways Potter helped shape who I am today–it taught me a great deal of lessons on life, love and friendship. I’ll be forever grateful to J.K. Rowling for her wonderful stories, even if there is a new mini-series out entitled Harry Potter and the Author Who Wouldn’t Shut Up.

Matthew Fox: F-O-X.

Kathleen Kelly: That is amazing, you can spell “fox”! Can you spell “dog”?

Matthew Fox: F-O-X.

I learned how to spell the word ‘fox’. Who knew it would come in handy when two Swedes took the Internet by storm with an entire song devoted to figuring out what a fox says?

Joe Fox: Don’t cry, Shopgirl. Don’t cry.

Kathleen Kelly: I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.

I don’t exactly know what these last lines of the movie taught me, except that I cry just about every time they’re spoken. Now I love endings to movies, absolutely love them. Probably as much as Jesse in Pitch Perfect, complete with a Judd Nelson punch in the air. The endings really are the best part, and I don’t care if it makes me the cheesiest, most predictable girl on the planet, I just love when Kathleen sees Joe come up around the curve in the garden with Brinkley.

Yes. You’ve Got Mail is my all-time favorite movie. It was my first rom-com, and certainly has not been my last. Movies like this, and also Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, and Big are some that I will always have in my movie library. They’re classics–the start of the rom-com era. Will my future kids grow up with these masterpieces just like I have? Of course.

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3 comments

  1. Pingback: Welcome! | HJ&M
  2. For me You’ve Got Mail is the greatest romantic movie of the 1990s and it gets better with multiple viewings.
    I don’t care what all the elitists say, there’s an incredible warmth to this film: from Tom and Meg, to the care-free soundtrack and the richly beautiful New York cinematography.
    In a world where book stores and AOL are almost extinct, You’ve Got Mail proves to be incredibly timeless.
    I’m glad you love it and I’m sure your future kids will too.

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