Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Comfort, A Quilt and Some Questions
I was in a lighter mood last night, especially after watching "How to Make An American Quilt". But I was vexed prior to it all. The commute to retrieve the MP3 player I had fixed was its usual mess, and the grogginess I felt from sleeping-in till early afternoon, as well as the blistering heat got me out-of-sorts by the time I met with my friend for dinner.
Hanging at his house was and always is a big help to appease my restlessness. One, I get to escape from the noise of the busy avenue fronting the condo I live in; and two, the presence of a friend's company (even without the conversation) is always comforting to me. And so there I was, at his delightfully lived-in 50's style home, laying on his bed and watching t.v. Somehow, I've gotten used to him busying himself with his own "thang" (chatting online usually) while I simply lounge about, either reading a newspaper, answering the day's crossword, munching crackers from his father's tub of Sky Flakes, smoking and/or watching t.v. Even my body seems to be accustomed to the snugness of it all. I find myself often pooping in his rather roomy bathroom.
And last night was just like one of those days. But the movie I caught made everything all the more a respite from the bitch that is my life and its eccentricities. I actually found myself lightheaded and smiling (it's been a while) after watching the film. Over some cigarettes, chugging on gallons of water, and a good helping of crackers with strawberry jam and hazelnut spread, my friend and I chatted on thoughts on the movie.
I've always enjoyed "How To Make An American Quilt". The first time I saw the movie was in high school, and immediately I fell in love with it. Not just because it was about the lives of women, and that the actresses portraying the roles were people I enjoyed watching (especially Winona Ryder); the movie score was delicate and touching that I even ended up buying its soundtrack, listening to it during my dreadful days, even utilizing it as background music to fantasies while I was reading Jack London's "The Call of the Wild". I enjoyed the mid-afternoon feel the movie and music emulated-- a palpable quietude and brightness I often observed and enjoyed during the siesta hours of my childhood.
Now, with more experience (and hopefully more wisdom) in my pocket, watching the film made me appreciate it even more. I found more in it other than just its escapist aspects. I realized that so much of the film reflected my own life and current experience, most especially with the topics on finding love and being comfortable in being in a relationship. The movie revolved around Finn (the central character) and her fear of commitment, of loosing herself, of settling, and thus becoming immobile and imprisoned by her coming marriage. I immediately translated it into my own fear with relationships. I began to wonder why it was so hard for me to surrender myself when faced with a romantic opportunity? Already, I've pushed away several. Why do I set so many rigid standards for a possible partner? (Funny thought: can I even pass my own standards?!). Is it true that the only way to love fully is to surrender one's self to it? Is anyone really ready for love? Is there really a cork up my ass?
Even the film posed interesting questions: Who would you rather marry, a friend or a lover? (a character responds that she'd rather marry her soul mate... I find this a little too bathetic); would you rather do foolish things and blame it on the folly of youth (and end up paying for the rest of your life), or be safe and wonder instead without really experiencing them?
One of my favorite aspects was when Finn was shown a poem by one of her aunts (played by Alfre Woodard)who believed to have met her soul mate while she was in Paris. The man she met was "the only one [she] didn't have a picture of", was a poet, and was almost perfect for her, except for one thing: he was married. Though Woodard's story was a bit too plebeian and melodramatic, it was the content of the poem that was striking: "Young lovers seek perfection.
Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together
and of seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches."
Indeed, why do many people like me seek for more? What if all that we have is all that there is?