You may find the following quoted scene a little foreign, dated, or even kitschy. I will admit, I have used parts of this iconic scene in more than one of my posts. Novels, plays, operas, and movies are filled with iconic ill-fated relationships, what-ifs, and should-haves, laced with as much syrupy sentimentality that many a modern-day music video will conjure. Yeah, it sells. What can I say?
For some of us, it’s not so much the marketing ploy, nor the clawing emotionality. It’s more the subtle underpinnings, the things left unsaid, even the respect for the climate of the era.
Does this sound familiar?
Rick: Last night we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I’ve done a lot of it since then, and it all adds up to one thing: you’re getting on that plane with Victor where you belong.
Ilsa: But, Richard, no, I… I…
Rick: Now, you’ve got to listen to me! You have any idea what you’d have to look forward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten, we’d both wind up in a concentration camp. Isn’t that true, Louie?
Captain Renault: I’m afraid Major Strasser would insist.
Ilsa: You’re saying this only to make me go.
Rick: I’m saying it because it’s true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You’re part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Ilsa: But what about us?
Rick: We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you–
Rick: And you never will. But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that. [she begins to cry] Now, now…Here’s looking at you kid.
This scene was from the 1942 Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman film, Casablanca. I probably don’t have to say a lot about it. Even my daughter knows the movie from her middle school years.
What about the rest of us, who are not ill-fated lovers? Who have built our simple lives around our fervent beliefs in the good of mankind? Who eke out a living, come home, get dinner on the table, attend school meetings, take out the garbage? I guess the media would find us too ho-hum. Our stories would never sell.
But, we’re the rest of the world. We’re the 99%.
Today, I’ve been married for 29 years. 29 years of growing up with the person I have chosen to wake up with every morning, and to bid goodnight to every bedtime. We always have Paris. But I had also said, we have Istanbul, Prague, Berlin, Vienna, Volpaia, Volterra, Florence, Cinque Terre, Cannes, Grasse, Madrid, Seville, and many many more.
I have promised to love every graying hair, every new mole or freckle that appears for years to come. No tearful partings. No final goodbyes unless we die. No dramatics, or a plane waiting to whisk one of us away. We have a rather ordinary life. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ll take this kind of ordinary, anytime!