Friday, December 7, 2012

Middle Aged Love is Just More Interesting

Or at least it is in the movies.


Before someone goes all "well, all love stories are better in the movies! The producers are pandering to our lovesick hearts! yada yada yada", let me qualify my assertion.

In the traditional 20-something romantic comedy, the grab is the classic star crossed lovers scenario, and just like a Greek chorus, we are sitting in the audience fully aware that the only way life will improve for our characters is if they finally hook up. So, queue the music, bring down the lights, maybe add a horse chase or some great self-deprecating speech, and our characters finally realize they can make it together! Curtain up. Story over.

I should be clear: I do embrace the estrogen in my system, and I do identify with that occasional "yay! they can stop dating the wrong people and live happily together" attitude. At the end of the day, I am a romantic. I want to see the lovers end up together, or a resolution achieved, or--as in 500 Days of Summer--the broken hearted finally heal. Are these films realistic? Probably never. But they fulfill a need to see a happy ending for people in that same stage of life as we are in.

But the middle aged love story is just so much more layered; characters are richer, lives more interesting, the dynamics of desire so much more obvious. In a way, the stakes are higher for the main characters in a middle aged-love story--after all, this is likely the second chance at life and love. And yet, because of that very truth, the games are strangely absent (or at least way less complicated). In that cinematic middle aged love affair, the characters aren't delusional enough to believe that every new man or woman is the ONE. The hunting mentality just isn't there.  We get to watch people spar and love in spades. With intelligent dialogue. All that breeds authenticity. YES.

I could die very happy knowing that I had produced a screenplay like Something's Gotta Give. Will I ever? Very doubtful. But why do I feel that way? The character's love affair is damn funny. This is a story for romantics who appreciate things that are well-written, and have a splash of the ludicrous.  Both characters are stubborn, the actors themselves quite iconic, and the story feels authentic. And, armed with rapier wit, they develop a humorous, slightly combative, and complete honest affection for one another. The causal approach of their romance allows for a bit of frivolity, but the intricacies of their individual lives gloss the whole affair in the unforgettable. Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton strike gold. Comedic and romantic gold.

Another sterling example is It's Complicated, with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin.
Let's look at what makes this love triangle very memorable:

  1. Every character is grown up, and successful; I don't envy Meryl's shoes, I envy her kitchen. Her choices are a successful businessman or genius architect. Hmm.
  2. I never see her drunkenly sleeping with some cute guy she met over spring break, but I do see her getting her party on with STEVE MARTIN. You know, the guy from The Jerk? A step up? I think so.
  3. Situational comedy is the bread-and-butter of a film about blended families and multi-lovers. I mean, I buy the idea that hiding your knickers from your grown up kids shoulders more urgency then hiding them from your 20-something chick roommate.
So the moral of this whole post is really a bit vague. But I think I want to be Meryl Streep but date a guy with Jack Nicholson's humor?Yeah, I may have to get back to you on that one. Just put them in your Netflix queue.

Oh, and I should note: I quite like dating without the "benefits" of age, and am in no hurry to advance the timeline. ;)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Working Woman's Soundtrack to Surviving the Rough Day

7 AM - Wake up call


9 AM - Walking into the Board Meeting

1:15 PM - But then the presentation falls flat

4:45 PM - Quittin' time is comin' late but ... I can do it even better in 'broken heels'.

7:15 PM - Lullaby for a Lover

Monday, December 3, 2012

Scratch Scratch

It seems that I have sublet part of my palatial bedroom.

I knowit seems like the sort of thing one would remember doing, no?
Also, I say palatial because I love the look of the word, and because my bedroom has ridiculous turret-like walls at 65 degree angles so-it-kind-of-resembles-a-fortress, and because it takes a really long time to vacuum. There are 14 walls...only three of them reach 8 feet in height.  It is fanciful and fabulous. And I am irrationally possessive of the huge space; I do not want to share.

Now, now. No judgements. If this were a post-apocalyptic world, I would gladly lug a bunch of twin beds up the steps and make a mini refugee camp. I am not heartless after all.

But I do NOT share with scurrying, four legged creatures. Especially when they wake me from a dead sleep with their creepy, echoing, scurrying behaviors. At pre-dawn hours.

I met my new "roommates" after theyas all entitled neighbors doinsisted upon moving around in the rafters directly above my dresser/bathroom, loudly and with no consideration of my REM cycle. The effect was an alternating hollow and high-pitched "scratch scratch" noise, coupled with the occasional sounds of cascading bullets. In hindsight, I recognize that creatures were not having a gang turf war in my ceiling: they were stockpiling acorns, a.k.a. ammo, for future turf wars with me. Or they have set up a bowling alley using acorns in my rafters. Either way, not good. For approximately 10 minutes, while I stared at the red digital alarm clock, I listened intently. I was trying to gauge the exact source of the noise. I was also trying to rationalize that a bat wasn't in my room. Yes, that thought crossed my mind. I mean, fortress like room? Dark? Sleepy delirium? It made sense.

Eventually, as fear turned to irritation that I was loosing precious minutes of sleep before the alarm clock sounded, I got mad. And then went mad. With no other recourse than scare tactics available to me, I grabbed an emptied wrapping paper dowel (tis the season for wrapping gifts) and started WHACKING the ceiling in short furious bursts of energy. I went so far as to adopt a strategy for noisy disruption: "X" and "W" formations with the dowel. Also note, I was freezing, in PJs, still in the dark, and totally channeling a bad martial arts film with cries of, "Hi-yight!" I parried, I sliced, I made dramatic jumping movements designed to stun! Because, they have x-ray vision and could see my intimidation tactics through the ceiling plaster, of course.

It didn't work. Breathless and nervy, and a complete mess, I listened as they ignored me. And my shoulders slumped in disappointment, and I did the only rational thing: I decided to force Sisterita awake to share in my plight. She did not, I believe, appreciate my efforts to include her in my turf war.

The nemesis I imagine.

I feel like Zoe Deschanel's character in Failure to Launch; the pacifist is driven completely mad by a mockingbird and nearly robs a gun counter to find relief. I will not, I assure you, take this tactic. But I have no idea if a) I am dealing with mice, squirrels, mischievous gnomes, or hobgoblins, or b) how to GET RID OF THEM.


Also, remember me describing the room like a fortress? Well, fortresses with weird noises are creepy. And it was pre-dawn, so I woke up to weird noises in the dark. The whole situation kind of made me whimper a little bit. My samurai bravado was a complete farce--but if enough sleepless nights persist, I will pass by terror in favor of rage. I don't like the scurrying. At all. ::GULP::