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You Got Mail And a Really Bad Deal
May 11

In the last 24 hours I've had two moments of extra clarity. As I was jogging through downtown this morning past newly-empty store fronts and leasing signs in the place of once-robust businesses, I remembered a conversation I had last night with my husband. I was cataloguing with him the string of crises we've had recently and it was then that I had my first moment. I had to put the majority of our ulcer-fostering experiences from the last 5 years under the heading of owning our own business. It was sort of a relief to realize that we have not been in a mystical Job scenario but one of our own making. Running a small company, like all good endeavors (parenting for example) is both exhilarating and terrifying. We are taking a risk—many risks and our mission demands more skill and creativity than we have some days. But every time we joke about applying for a job at Google (for the free juice and gourmet sandwiches they feed their employees) we remember how much time we get to spend with our daughters and how much we enjoy working together. And, of course, working for ourselves. In spite of the anxiety and exhaustion, we are extremely lucky.

Which brings me to the second moment I had while jogging. My mind wandered from local store owners to Meg Ryan's character Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail. She inherited a Manhattan children's bookstore from her late mother. And when a Borders-esque mega book chain puts her out of business, she grieves for a few weeks and then falls in love. What kind of a trade is that? A gratifying, life-defining, entrepreneurial pursuit (not to mention the pleasure of introducing The Very Hungry Caterpillar to 3 year olds) for Tom Hanks? For the moment I'm ignoring the impulse to start evaluating other movies I own. Yes, I own it. I am a sucker for romance movies, including the bad ones. And I grew up in a culture where feminism was a bad word. But now I am a feminist. Except for (here's the moral of the story) when I'm watching New-York-in-the-fall-with-latte-sipping-nice-guy flicks. I don't intend to give up romance films but all the artificially-induced endorphins I get watching this one can't masque the truth that Kathleen Kelly got robbed.

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May 20, 2010 6:16 PM

it's so true!  Kathleen Kelly was ROBBED!  I cry every time she takes that bell off the door.  She had so much - a legacy wrapped in gorgeous hardwood shelves - taken from her.  But, I honestly have to say, the love of a good man is quite a treasure, too.  Plus, she got to keep her cute apartment, right?