John Hughes' world is so comfy.

The weird girl always ends up with the jock, who reveals himself to be thoughtful somewhere near the 3/4 mark in the movie. The nerds get to revel in the glory of holding a pair of girls' underwear. We all find out that the mean girl is secretly just sad, and Kevin's parents come home for Christmas day. Boy, it sure is nice to inhabit that world for a few hours. This week I watched Sixteen Candles, and indulged myself in dreaming about when I turned sixteen.

Unlike Samantha, I did get a car for my sixteenth birthday. It's the one I still drive -- a used green Honda Element. Even though I quit smoking weed a couple years ago, I still relish the faint smell of pot that's sewn into the interior. It reminds me of hotboxing my car after school with my best friend Jamie, then driving around downtown Atlanta with all the windows down and a Flaming Lips CD blaring. We were such little deviants. When I think about being sixteen, I think about getting high. And really, I think about Jamie.

Jamie and I became friends when I was fifteen. I had begun to wear anger on my sleeve and started to let my freak flag fly a little higher at that age. I stumbled upon the implicating texts on my mom's phone that would later end their marriage, but decided to keep that a secret for about a year, until I'd finally burst over. During that year though, I have some of my richest adolescent memories. I was angsty, I was hurt, and I was looking for something to take the edge off. Those three qualities mix together into the perfect cocktail for teenage debauchery.

I can remember one night so well, mostly because I should have been so scared, but I wasn't. A group of us had been smoking weed all afternoon in Jamie's boyfriend Ben's car. We had even invited the kid that served us at McDonald's to join us -- when we drove through to ask for just one cup of water he knew it was for a bong. Anyways, later that night, there had to have been six of us crammed into a jalopy Volvo. I was in the dead middle of the backseat, ripping a bong between my legs while we did donuts in a church parking lot. The car was leaning so hard and I was laughing so slow. I remember the feeling so well.

That's a good memory of those days. A bad one is going back to Ben's apartment later and hearing her yell "OUCH!" from behind thin walls during a bad fight. Moments later, Ben stormed out muttering "You're a stupid, stupid girl Jamie." I drove her back to her house in silence.

It's bittersweet to look back at those memories now. Jamie and I aren't friends at all anymore. We both had really strong personalities, pretty strong egos, and fairly potent depression/anxiety disorders, so clashes were inevitable. Our friendship came crashing down my senior year, when I had to cut her off completely during a depressive period she had gotten into, where I would stay up until sometimes 4am on a school night, making sure she hadn't made a suicide attempt.

Eventually, I hit a breaking point. The payoff of having reckless fun wasn't enough to outweigh the emotional toll our friendship was taking on me. John Hughes does a pretty good job treating teenage relationships seriously, and I think his audiences appreciate that. It does matter to us that the nerds get to have their moment. We need to see things like that because we thirst for the validation that things can turn around for us and that things will work out.

I regret how harshly I cut Jamie off. It's been almost four full years, but it still haunts me every now and then. We were best friends and had so much fun together, but I just reached a saturation point with how much of her burden I could carry. In defence of myself, I tried in vain to reach out for help from her mom (suggested she go off birth control to "regulate her hormones") and the school ("We'll give her mother a call.")

This has almost nothing to do with Sixteen Candles, of course. It shouldn't. Our plotline didn't end tied up in a bow. I think that's why John Hughes still maintains a timeless grip on teenagers -- we love to empathise with a character whose problems get resolved in under two hours. That's about all we have the attention span for.