Whew, did it rain a lot for the past few days. There’s not much a person with no car can do in a downpour, so I did the thing I’d say I’d do and found myself a plan B. I had Wi-Fi, and the condo place had a DVD rental station, so I’ve taken a few days to be introspective and do something I rarely do: watch a lot of movies.
Why, you ask, don’t I watch a lot of movies very often? Well, this goes back a long way, maybe 50 years or so, when I fell hard for my high-school crush (also my college and most of grad school crush). He was laser-focused on cinema studies, even in high school. He was going to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, who majored in filmmaking at USC. But he wanted to write.
I, too, wanted to write, though I really didn’t care about what. Combine that with friends like Anita, who was also a writer type, and you can imagine how creative and eloquent the notes we passed around in school were. They were also very funny, since we also had cartooning skills in the mix.
Anyway, I figured the way into that guy’s heart was to love what he loved, so I watched lots and lots of movies. When we started dating, pretty much all we did was go to movies. No, not to do a lot of smooching, but to watch and analyze those films. We were fans of ci-ne-ma. You didn’t just go to a movie and enjoy it. Au contraire, you had to analyze the themes, dissect the camera angles, and make sure to note any editing flaws or continuity issues. This was serious business.
It didn’t get any less serious throughout college. He majored in English, with a concentration in cinema studies, and I majored in linguistics with concentrations in cinema and Japanese. Japanese cinema, that was my ticket to academic glory, apparently.
Well, by the time I got partway through my dissertation, which happened to use Japanese movies as its data source, and that relationship ended when I realized I was trying way too hard to mold my life after whatever that other person wanted, leading to regrettable rebellions…let’s just say I was done with the ci-ne-ma. I was over the dolly shots and the search for Marxist themes in every film (to this day, I could not tell you one thing about Marxism, even though I had a child who followed the same philosophical path).
Sadly, I also could not watch a movie without analyzing it. I’d see one thing that triggered my urge to analyze and I could no longer just be moved by immersing myself into the world of the film. That was not fun. So, I really don’t enjoy movies much anymore, especially old ones where I feel compelled to compare each film to its director’s “ouvre.” Poor Anita. She just wanted to watch Turner Classic Movies and I couldn’t look. High School Boyfriend had not ruined her ability to do ci-ne-ma.
Back to today, I guess all that introspection and shedding of old traumas has gotten me past some of my issues. I do better now, and try to watch movies with Lee. I’m just not good with horror and overly realistic violence, which cuts out a lot of the current movies out there.
Here, alone in my little space, I went out and rented every single rom-com, comedy, and wimpy family movie I could, and I watched them. I let myself get immersed in the story, the music, and the visuals and just had fun. What a gift to myself! I do have a couple of comments on some of the films I watched, though, in case you’re considering any of my wimpy choices:
Jerry and Marge Go Large: I’m not sure if I mentioned this one before, but it’s a lot of fun and based on a true story about people who figured out a lottery loophole. Any story featuring real-life mathematical geniuses and genuinely likable secondary characters is okay with me. ****
Addams Family 2: The animation was great, and the attention to detail in the scenery was wonderful. But that was one predictable plot. **
Jungle Cruise: I had low hopes for a movie based on a theme park ride, but I ended up enjoying all the references to the ride and the cheerfully campy plot. The stunts were fun, too, and it was nice to see the female lead portrayed as competent at jungle skills. The gay brother character was fun, too, as he reminded me of many people I know AND was a badass. This one’s worth watching if you want to just relax and watch something. ***
Elvis: GEEZ the guy who played Elvis nailed it. I love how this movie was made and edited (sorry, getting ci-ne-ma on you), and the soundtrack that mixed music from all eras was inspired. You literally see and hear the history of music since the 1950s in this one. Tom Hanks was creepy, though, as Col. Parker. But the rest of the cast, including the portrayals of influential black musicians, was inspired. The Little Richard guy was riveting. ****
The Lost City: This was way better than I thought it would be from the previews. It’s pretty similar to Jungle Cruise, so don’t watch them together. But this one’s one-liners were way more clever, and I found myself chuckling aloud at some of the asides. Sandra Bullock sure can do comedy. I had a blast watching this. *****
Marry Me: I watched this one with Lee, but I just wanted to say this was charming, sweet, and a perfect rom-com. *****
The Good House: Here’s when I ran out of big hits to watch. This one has nice actors and beautiful scenery, but the plot is a heavy-handed tale of a woman who’s an alcoholic and keeps reciting all the typical thing alcoholics tell themselves. It came out well-intentioned but a bit preachy. Kudos for showing realistic sex between older people. ** 1/2
Walking with Herb: This was literally the last film I could get that wasn’t a cartoon or part of a series I wasn’t interested in. Highlights of this one are the great scenery of Las Cruces and Palm Springs and the golf humor. I like golf humor, which is good, because it balances out the Christianity theme (as a non-Christian, I had to suspend my beliefs). Well, it was a sweetly Christian theme, and it was nice to see the Latino lead characters in a mainstream film. I did tear up at some points, so hey, it was okay. ***
I talked about King Richard, the film about Serena and Venus Williams’s dad in an earlier blog. But, I liked it a lot. ****
My solo time is coming to an end, though, because I’ve got my owl necklace (it’s a Superb Owl) on and plan to go watch the Superbowl with other folks at the little cabana bar downstairs. Then, if I can find transportation, I will head home tomorrow. All cabs are booked. Great. Uber is NOT cheap in advance, so I’m hoping tomorrow morning it will be better.
I was really looking forward to yesterday. Family members who don’t hate me were going to come stay with me for a few days. We were going to visit people, go out to eat, wander around to parts of the island I can’t go to (this place is crawling with gated communities), and talk about our respective difficult elderly family members.
I can’t believe I did this, but I allowed myself to get all excited about the fun we’d have. I tidied up the condo (not that it was untidy – I love to keep things clean and beautiful when I’m by myself), told everyone at work I was taking some time off, made sure I could get them a parking permit, and was all ready to welcome them.
I was disappointed to learn that one of my guests hurt herself getting ready to load the car, so they weren’t coming after all. I know she’s had back issues, so I felt sad for her. It certainly wasn’t her fault at all! Wow, did I experience a letdown, though. As high as I’d felt anticipating a visit and not having to be all by myself, I felt equally low realizing I was going to spend the rest of my time in Hilton Head alone. (I LIKE being alone, but I have had enough to fill my tank now).
After a while, I was kicking myself (mentally) for allowing myself to get all hepped up before something actually happened. I put out a whiny post on Facebook and got some varied responses.
Many people empathized with how I felt. I’m not alone in letting myself get excited then feeling really down. Others had helpful advice that I appreciated, such as a reminder that Brene Brown would say this means I’m living wholeheartedly. Something else I found helpful was advice from a friend’s therapist: “Focus on what you CAN do not on what you Can’t when disappointed.” Yet another commenter talked about “post-event letdown,” which I remember experiencing when I was younger, but have gotten better about and now just wallow in memories.
And people ask why I still do Facebook…the community I’ve built is so supportive!
I’ve been pondering whether I’m doing the right thing in trying to squish down my anticipation. I have been doing it for the past few years when I was letting myself look forward to trips, the return of people to the ranch, projects to work on, and people to do things with me. For example, when the first two people I asked to join me this week decided not to come, I wasn’t upset at all, because I was prepared for things not to work out. I let this third one get by me. My squishing down has gotten quite good in the post-COVID era, where just about everything fun got canceled, but it’s not perfect.
But hey, isn’t anticipation fun? Doesn’t it make good vibes (or hormones or something) flow through you? Should I be trying another tactic besides not allowing myself to get happy about something until it actually happens? Maybe I should let myself dream about the fun I may have when I get to pick up my new car next week, rather than trying not to think about it in case something goes wrong?
I think I’m going to let myself feel my feelings a bit more but work on not getting so sad about what I can’t do. Like the friend said, I can concentrate on what I CAN do. I tried that out last night, so rather than mourn the fact that the promised dinner and drinks weren’t going to happen, I got myself a ridiculously expensive old fashioned and drank it while listening to the excellent guitar player entertaining at the resort cafe and ordered myself an impressive plate of sushi and edamame.
I ended up in the resort lobby waiting for the food having a fun conversation about football with the women at the reception area. One woman ended up showing me the football-themed tote bags and pajama sets she’d made for friends, then some of the outfits she designed for herself. How would I ever have realized that these women were so interesting and talented if I hadn’t rewarded myself and done what I could do after a disappointment? I win!
I enjoyed that sushi while watching King Richard, the movie about Venus and Serena Williams’s controversial father. I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of the sisters in this movie. They were so authentically happy, smart, and normal young girls. They weren’t overly made up or with fancy hair and clothing. They looked like the girls I knew at the time and played and bickered and loved each other so genuinely. What a great portrayal of a black family that looked real. (I also thoroughly enjoyed all the 1970s cars.)
In summary, I’m going to let myself anticipate fun things in the future, but if they don’t come to pass, I’ll remind myself of the options for fun that I still have. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? LOVE to all of you reading this, and healing vibes to my family member!
PS: the beach is so fun to watch. An osprey just flew right by my balcony with something in its talons! And I spent at least a half hour just before sunset watching large pods of dolphins very close to the shore here. There must have been a dozen! The photo shows how close they were (and some of those weird rectangles that are container ships). People enjoyed watching them.
No one was in a great mood much of today so I didn’t even try to do any activities. The only reason we left the condos was to get groceries in the world’s smallest and perhaps most expensive Publix supermarket. That’s ok. I still liked it, because my mom shopped at Publix when I was a wee lass.
It was a bit chilly, but warm enough to sit on the balcony and crochet long enough to realize I needed sunscreen on. I enjoyed lots of singing birds and chatty crows, plus I watched pelicans diving and an osprey hunting.
There wasn’t much reason to leave here, since I got a good lunch at the cafe along with a latte spiked with Bailey’s (which may explain the nap I took later). And it’s so pretty. Hilton Head is just so green and natural.
I did venture out on a Long Beach walk. I enjoyed looking at the patterns the tidal movement makes on the sand, saw a few dead horseshoe crabs and one dead stingray. Mostly I saw shorebirds, though, such as gulls, terns, sanderlings, and willets.
This time of year, dogs are allowed on the beaches here. I got to get my dog fix just by looking out the windows, but walking with them is even more fun. They really have a good time!
We relaxed in the evening and watched two movies, which we don’t get to do often at home. The first one was an extra violent but spiritually interesting one about a Viking. I had to look away a lot. The other was Cruella, which was enjoyable.