Skip to main content

four scenes

I've been watching movies this weekend and everything seems to remind me of losing my home to foreclosure Monday, May 9, 2011. The Kraken is attacking The Pearl, and Captain Jack Sparrow orders his crew to abandon ship, because, after all, "She's only a ship, mate." Aunt May is packing up her belongings because the bank is foreclosing her house, too, when Peter comes over and tries clumsily to make up after he confessed his hand in Uncle Ben's death.

Spiderman 2 boasts one of my favorite scenes in a movie. Spidey meets Doc Ock at the clocktower but their battle descends to an elevated train below. Doc Ock forces a choice on Spidey: save the disabled train and all its riders from plummeting off the unfinished tracks, or save MJ from I don't remember what. Of course Spidey chooses to stop the train, the effort of which causes him to faint dead away. Just before he slumps off the front of the train, sans mask mind you, the good people whom he's just saved gently lift him above their heads and pass him to safety in the back of the train. They lay him on the floor and marvel at his youth. When he comes to, they promise to keep his identity a secret. Then, when Doc Ock comes after Spidey again, those Average Joes stand up to the mechanical menace. It's an act of certain bravery.

When I think of the cinematic scenes that genuinely move me, I find they have something in common. The stories usually center on a strong but flawed protagonist, and the scenes that move me most focus on that protector in a moment of vulnerability. The Abyss. Schindler's List. Gorillas in the Mist.

The Abyss. Lindsey and Bud have to make it from their failing sub to the rig, but there's only one diving suit. Bud's the stronger swimmer, so he agrees to don the suit and drag Lindsey to the rig. They know she'll die on the way to the rig but hope her body will go into deep hypothermia and she can be resuscitated on the rig. Bud drags Lindsey's body through the water and up onto the platform in the rig and starts resuscitation, defib, everything. She doesn't revive. But he won't give up on her. "Come on, breathe! Goddamn it, you bitch, you never backed down from anything in your fight!" And he slaps her, hard. She sputters back to life and from that moment on things between them change. For the better.

Schindler's List. I only watched it once in my lifetime because it was too painful to watch again, but there's a scene toward the end where Oskar laments the loss of all those souls, and what he could have done to save them but didn't. "This pin. Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would have given me two for it, at least one. One more person. A person, Stern. For this. I could have gotten one more person … and I didn't! And I … I didn't!"

Gorillas in the Mist. Dian Fossey may have been a total nutjob, but she was passionate about her work. Sigourney Weaver's portrayal sets my jaw, or at least I wish it did. She did everything she could to save those gorillas, and in the end she couldn't do it. When the poachers killed Digit she turned to Sembegare, her tracker, and moaned, "They took his hands. They took his hands." Unthinkable.

A strong character in a moment of vulnerability. That's me, right now, in this life.


Popular posts from this blog

wotd: temporize

temporize \TEM-puh-ryz\, intransitive verb:
1. To be indecisive or evasive in order to gain time or delay action.
2. To comply with the time or occasion; to yield to prevailing opinion or circumstances.
3. To engage in discussions or negotiations so as to gain time (usually followed by 'with').
4. To come to terms (usually followed by 'with').

It's easy to tell yourself that you'll write a daily blog entry using the word of the day from dictionary(dot)com as a prompt, and equally easy to temporize your daily entry by waffling over what to write about, or evading your obligation by procrastination. There. Bedtime.

expanding my culinary horizons

After last night's culinary debacle, today's culinary surprise was particularly welcome. My dear friend Rukmi brought me lunch! Rukmi is Sri Lankan. She cooks the best food. I ate a fish and egg croquette, lentil curry, saffron rice, all with delicious chicken and what I thought might be tuna. I asked Rukmi what the meat was, and she told me it's all chicken. "The flat, triangular meat? With the spices? Is it tuna?"

She laughed lightly. "That's a wegetable," she said, in her lovely Sinhalese way.

"Oh, yeah? Like a beet?" That made sense, because it flaked like tuna steak or like beets might.

"It is jackfruit."

Jackfruit? Jackfruit! I ate jackfruit today. Rukmi told me all about it: she used canned young jackfruit she bought at G & L Market on 22nd St.; fully grown jackfruits are gigantic and if one fell on your head it could kill you. When fully ripe, jackfruit is full of big pods that each have a seed in the middle, like a po…
Jack doesn't have many "activities." I don't relish the thought of driving him to soccer, piano lessons, gymnastics, tae kwon do, KidzArt, swim team, T-ball, so on, and so forth. Not to say that I don't recognize the value of these activities, but I witness firsthand the toll a full schedule takes on little ones. On Monday nights Jack and his cousin participate in Young Champions of America Karate, which is more about learning discipline, respect, and self defense than it is about martial arts.

Recently we've picked up a new activity, which is also about learning discipline, respect, and creativity: Tucson Lego Club.

He was invited to join by Nathan and Lucas, friends from church who also attended the preschool a few years ahead of Jack. Here he sits between them, at a table surrounded by 6 other boys, each of them building a lavish Lego creation.

Members spend an hour building and fraternizing, sometimes more fraternizing than building, but at the end of the h…