Dear Twentysomething: Lynne Culp
TRUST: Whoa, watch it chump…I don’t like drinks spilled …Oh, you’re a kid and…whoops… female. Sorry, ma’am. I forgot my manners for a minute. It is loud in here. My name is Trust, and you are….? Oh, you’re Twenty. Nice to meet ya. Whew, at last they put something quieter on the stereo…What’s the name of that one? “Michelle,” you say. It’s those Beatles fellows, right. Let’s move over near the door where it’s quieter. There, that’s better… have a seat and breathe some fresh air. Are you ok? You look a bit…I don’t know…downcast, maybe. Ah, just got back from a trip. Jet lag? Oh, romance lag. Tell me about it. Europe, eh. Nice. And you met someone? Sort of a crush? French guy. And…let me guess…not a word since you got back. Well, honey, I’m not surprised one bit. Shipboard romance…even if it’s on a bus, that’s the oldest story in the book. And, French ones, well reliability is not their strong suit. I know, I know. This one was different. Well… they’re all different.
TWENTY: I’m sorry…for someone with the name trust, you seem a bit, well, cynical, if you want to know the truth. Look, I didn’t think my experience was Romeo and Juliet. But Claude….well, he was sweet and kind, and I thought we had some great conversations. I guess I hoped they would continue even with the distance between us. The truth is, I don’t like to let go of people once I get to know them a little bit. I sort of like friendships to mean something. I guess I don’t know much about men. I never had a brother, you see. And I was very young when my father died too. What’s the matter, why are you looking at me like that? I’m not stupid, you know. I just want to know how the world works and how men think about things.
TRUST: I could say they don’t think, honey, but you wouldn’t hear it anyway. Oh look, someone is making Harvey Wallbangers. I’ll grab a couple for us and be right back. Don’t talk to anyone while I’m gone. Hear me?
That was lucky. I was practically first in line. These are delicious, so sweet, so golden like nectar from the gods. Don’t drink it too fast, though. Nectar has a way of turning sour if you know what I mean. Now, back to men. Men can be many people. Remember that character Cary Grant plays in Charade. He keeps changing his identity and Audrey Hepburn can’t figure out who he is from one minute to the next. But, he’s very seductive just the same.
TWENTY: Wait a minute, I know that movie very well. I’ve seen it three times. The Grant character changes his name in the movie, but he is basically the hero. The name changing is incidental. His identity stays the same. And, while we are on the subject, the crucial scene in that movie is about trust. She has to make a decision and she decides to trust him and even though, all the odds are against it…she does…and the ending is a good one. Are you sure your name isn’t Anti-trust?
TRUST: Ha. Anti-trust. That’s a good one. I think you have to think these things through —movies or life—and you need some armor, possibly some protection from all the liars and cheats that are out there constantly on the move. Remember the Matthau character in the movie. He represents authority, and Hepburn nearly gets completely conned by him. That’s the way cons are…convincing, persuasive, and innocent people like you…well, if you don’t armor yourself, you’re doomed.
TWENTY: How do I do it? You seem worldly and wise despite your name…What’s your advice for someone like me, relatively new in the world?
TRUST: For one thing, don’t go taking drinks from strangers…I’m just kidding. What could be more wholesome than a drink made with orange juice? But, a little bit of caution could go a long way to protecting you. When you meet someone, stand back a little, walk all the way around him, hold yourself aloof, and take the big view before you get involved emotionally. You know how artists stand back and look at their work then try different angles. That’s what I think protects you from the con or the snake-oil salesman. It requires vision, insight, perspective. Be just a little bit suspicious especially when things look good or too good.
TWENTY: That actually sounds like pretty good advice, Trust. Perspective is hard for me, but maybe well worth acquiring. While I was sipping this lovely drink, I was remembering Paris with Claude. I was thinking that seeing the little stalls on the west bank with him, the places where they sell books…and having ice cream in an outdoor cafe looking over the Seine…those were experiences worth having even if I never hear from him again. I was lucky to spend those few hours out of a lifetime with a person who could make my first time in one of the world’s great cities memorable. Maybe, some experiences just aren’t meant to be permanent or fixed in one’s life. But, taking advantage of the moment, enjoying even the temporary pleasures…well, that’s perspective.
TRUST: Hmmm, Yes. I think we can both agree that pleasure is generally temporary. By the way, do you dance? What do you say, we put these glasses down? I think I hear the sound of Chubby Checker in the air…I do a mean Twist. Let’s go, Miss Twenty. Let’s go.
Lynne Culp is a retired English teacher who now spends much of her time admiring her gorgeous new granddaughter.