The French Have a Phrase For It

Miranda July. I met her at a dinner party off Coldwater Canyon.

It was so chic. I can’t tell you how chic it was. The whole night I jockeyed to get next to her. Finally, at the end of the evening, after our hostess told us to write our names in permanent marker on her mahogany table, I made my move. “Miranda,” I said, on our way out “You’re great. You’re just great.” (I’m wildly articulate in moments of high anxiety.) I asked her what her next movie was about. “It’s about a cat” she said, like a cat. “And the cat is in love with a plastic bag.” I swallowed. I smiled. “What’s it called?” I asked. She drew an invisible lock of hair around her tiny ear. “Satisfaction.”

And that was that.

Literally, esprit d’escalier means “sprit of the stairs.” Figuratively, what you should have said when you had the chance. But now that you’re on the stairs, on your way out, it’s too late.

“Miranda?”

“Yes?”

“Can I tell you something?”

“Yes.”

“Well, excuse me, but I didn’t want to see your movie, Me and You and Everyone We Know, when it came out. It looked like something a sad girl in high school would have liked.”

“Okay.”

“But my friend Goldblatt, who has seen it like three times, insisted I go. I told him I thought it looked, honestly, like just the sort of posturing, faux-indie, cutesy, aimless, airless crap that makes me want to run to Hepburn and Tracy, but he assured me that I would change my opinion after I saw it.”

“Okay.”

“You don’t say much do you?”

“It’s late.”

“What I wanted to say was, it blew me away.”

“Oh.”

“You made a romantic comedy from your guts, you know? Who does that? Romantic comedies – the good ones at least – seem to come from heaven, but you made one that – even though it’s all pretty and soft – that feels so earthbound and packed with all of the hot blooded vigor of a real and really lonely person.”

“I’m tired.”

“Do you know what I mean? When I heard that little boy say, sweetly, ‘You poop into my butt hole and I poop into your butt hole…back and forth…forever,’ I got it. I thought, ‘Yes, that’s love, isn’t it?’ And then I thought, ‘Wow, I can’t remember the last time I heard anything in a movie that so succinctly and hilariously summed the whole thing up. It was almost like one of those glimmering lines from Lubitsch.”

“It was nice meeting you.”

“Hey, wait.”

“Yes.

“What’s your next movie about?”

One response to “The French Have a Phrase For It

  1. Re Miranda and “Me, You…
    No meshpucha here but a whole lotta heart.
    Yours were my sentiments precisely.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s