St. Elmo’s Fire: how can one movie hold so many embarassing memories?

st-elmos-fireSometimes I wish I could turn off my brain!  It can obsess over the most ridiculous things.  The other morning I caught the end of St. Elmo’s Fire.  You know the coming-of-age Brat Pack movie from 1985 or so.  Any other person my age would laugh at the melodrama and ridiculous 80s hair and clothing and shrug it off.  But not me!  You know how you can hear a song from a certain season of life or a specific event and it completely brings back those memories, not just the images but the emotions as well.  Well, this movie does that for me – several specific embarassing memories.  

One night when I was living in Manhattan, a friend and I were hanging out.  We’d been to dinner or a movie or something and were wandering around Bleeker St looking for some cafe she remembered.  We never did find it but I we popped in one really out of the way place.  You know the kind, cool vibe, not very pretentious but Village-sized small with  tables very close together.  Kind of a neighborhood place. 

We had been having a pretty deep conversation on and off all night and we were continuing it over our late night coffees.  A woman came in alone and was seated right next to us.  Which was weird because it was very late and the place was pretty empty.   Anyway, the tables were so close together that when she sat next to me, she was closer to me than my friend across the table.   

I was in the process of explaining to Melinda that my emotional memory must be wired wrong.  When I remember events from the past, it’s rarely the good things and the emotions that come back around the memory stay with me for days after . . . like it happened just yesterday.  As if I don’t have enough to deal with from today!  

As an example, I mentioned that a few days before I caught St. Elmo’s Fire on tv late at night when I couldn’t sleep.  I have two memories attached with this movie that make me cringe – actually nauseus is a better description.  Both times include me behaving in a way that I still really regret and consequently the memories are very vivid.  So vivid that it feels like watching another person do something awful and being embarassed for them.  You know like watching American Idol auditions.   The feeling that comes up is this deep regret and a fear that if the people involved even remember me, I hope that’s not what they remember about me!  Like that moment is a clip that would make their highlight reel like the idiots on Idol who get shown over and over all season. These are people I haven’t seen in 20 years and I’m obsessing over what they think about me. 

I had that sick feeling in my stomach for a couple days after that watching that stupid movie!    Since Melinda is a good friend, she is laughing at my craziness all the while she is trying to make me feel better about being crazy in the first place. 

Right about the time her date shows up, I realize that the girl next to us has obviously heard the entire exchange.   And in a true ‘this-could-only-happen-to-Anne’ moment, her date is actually former brat packer himself, Andrew McCarthy.  You know “the meaning of life” guy from the movie!   Thankfully he asks if they can move to another table.  But it didn’t save us the embarassment because of course, the girl sells us out.  Within seconds of sitting down he’s looking over at us and smiling.  Melinda couldn’t stop staring at him, and as I keep whispering under my breath for her to stop looking,  I turned red toes to top!  He actually walked past us to the rest room smiling at us the whole way.   It was so beyond embarassing all you could was laugh.  

Fast forward to this weekend when I chance upon the end of the movie on tv, instead of cringing from regret for 20 year old actions, I can’t stop laughing over and over at one of the most ridiculous moments of my life!

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