You’ve Got Mail has been on TV quite a bit lately. I recorded it a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve made a habit of turning it on when I’m cooking, cleaning, or working on the computer. It’s just one of those feel-good movies that you don’t have to actively watch to really enjoy. It makes me all nostalgic about New York–I think it’s one of the most beautiful depictions of NYC ever–and also about Meg Ryan’s short haircut. She was the cutest.
We all remember Birdie from The Shop Around the Corner. She’s the sweet little old lady who Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan’s character) turns to for guidance in the absence of her late mother. Birdie is quick-witted and wise, and she makes you feel like everything is just going to be ok.
I’ve seen the movie many times, but recently, this scene stood out to me:
Birdie: So, deary, what have you decided to do?
Kathleen: Close. We’re going to close.
Birdie: Closing the store is the brave thing to do.
Kathleen: (laughing) You are such a liar. But thank you.
Birdie: You are daring to imagine that you could have a different life. Oh I know it doesn’t feel like that. You feel like a big fat failure now. But you’re not. You are marching into the unknown. Armed with nothing. Have a sandwich.
I just love how Birdie flips this situation on its head. Kathleen has no choice but to close The Shop Around the Corner–the sweet bookstore on the UWS that she inherited from her mother–and Birdie allows all of us to see that defeat through a different lens. It’s a really interesting exercise when it comes to our self-perceived failures.
Bravo, Birdie, you little cutie.