I have too high of expectations for my friends, for me, for regular people who have absolutely nothing to do with me aside from the fact that they’re standing in front of me in line at the grocery store, and for life in general: this is Nora Ephron’s fault.
In a way I suppose I should hate her for this: for setting me up to be continually disappointed. In the worlds she created, people were always honest, funny, self-aware and unfailingly articulate.
Real people aren’t like this. Real people are disappointing in most respects, unless they happen to be Nora Ephron. Nora’s characters were so damn likable because she was damn likable. She was funny. She was smart. She said what wanted to say whenever she wanted to say it.
But what I liked most about Nora was that she wasn’t afraid to make herself look like an idiot. If she did something stupid, she’d write about it openly and honestly. It takes a lot of chutzpah and one hell of a sense of humor to do that. This, more than anything, is why I was unreasonably depressed to learn she died yesterday.
To clarify, I obviously did not know her personally. (Surprising, I know).
Strangely, the world famous novelist, director, screenwriter and general all-around humorous super woman, did not feel the need to become buddy-buddy with some girl from Nebraska she had never heard of (though I always secretly hoped that this would happen).
I’d also been secretly hoping that this would happen since elementary school. At the time if I had to choose between meeting preteen dream team Hanson or Nora Ephron, I probably would have gone with Nora. (Again, I was a weird kid).
While other preteens were drooling over boy band videos and hoping to cozy up with one of these falsetto-fancying, airbrushed, dream boats, I was soaking up the good works of Miss Nora.
(Why I was allowed to watch these distinctly grown-up films at such a young age, is unclear. I probably just caught them on cable. At any rate, some of the dialogue definitely went over my head. In the classic, oft-imitated “I’ll have what she’s having” diner scene I remember thinking that Meg Ryan must have had a really good sandwich. I figured it was a ham and cheese).
While I was naively (and at that age, rightly) confused by some of the scenes in When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle even then I remember thinking there was something special about these movies. There was something special about the characters who seemed like real people: real people with real flaws.
Ever since I saw When Harry Met Sally at that formative age, Nora Ephron has been my favorite writer and (I admit, it’s super dorky to say this) my personal hero.
I’ve always found the idea of idolizing someone you’ve never met based solely on their career credentials and public persona, to be completely idiotic. That attempted bit of rationality aside though, I just couldn’t stop myself from feeling that way about Nora.
And now that she’s gone the world is just a little less funny and a little less bright.
I guess I’ll just have to watch When Harry Met Sally over and over and over again to console myself (as if I wasn’t going to do that already anyway)…