Wednesday, September 14, 2005Hope For The Wrong Thing
What does it mean when you open a well-known indie film magazine and discover that you know two of the people appearing inside?
Okay, so one of 'em is just the current hot-shit Memphis director, included purely by virtue of being the current hot-shit director. He's being mentioned all over the place right now, so no big surprise there.
The other person appears in an ad for the film school we both attended, so again, no huge surprise. It was more like being goosed by history -- you open a magazine and hey! look, there's a peripheral figure from a now-totally-irrelevant period in my life looking back at me. He won some fancy-sounding Euro-award that probably doesn't mean all that much really -- le Grand Prix du Merde de Grenouille or something like that -- but all those French words look impressive in the ad.
I, on the other hand, remember him better as the third point in a romantic triangle involving a friend of mine, a guy who actually served in a teacherly position at the school (although he was younger than the actual instructors, serving in more of an assistant-teacher position) and whom I got to know during my last year. I felt a connection to him because he felt like he could've been as much a product of my family as I am; he had a way of making intense eye contact when he talked to you that was simultaneously disconcerting and deeply engaging. He had developed a thing for a student, a Romanian girl who (in my opinion) was more interested in male attention as a general concept than in the attention of any one particular man. She and my friend had a little relationship going on under the radar, but it was incredibly frustrating for my friend, who was constantly having other guys flaunted at him. The hovering of this guy who appears in the ad in this magainze was a particular thorn in his side. And he was bad off over this chick, believe me -- I'd sit in the pub with him and listen to him moan about how painful it all was. And I was happy to do it -- he was my friend, after all, and I'd do anything for my friends, no matter how depressing they are.
In a way, she did him a service: she got him out of a too-long-standing relationship that he wasn't happy in and that did nobody any good. The Romanian girl went her own way in the end -- she was apparently abruptly proposed to by an Italian boy I once physically threw out of my lighting closet, which was amusing -- and left my friend to pick himself up. And after he had, he noticed another young woman, also a student, who had also been his friend, and he realized that he felt much happier around her, and they got married, and now they have a beautiful, chubby baby girl and they seem to be very happy.
What's the point of my talking about all this? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure.
Put it this way: I have very recently released some hopes that I no longer needed. Turning your back on your hopes is always a difficult thing; I always see it in my mind as feeling something like drowning a kitten in a bathtub... it's small and you love it and you want to protect it, you can't bear to kill it. But old dreams chase new dreams away. If it has to die, it might as well happen at the hand of the person who created it.
But I know it's a good thing -- there's been some aching involved, but also a kind of refreshed optimism: my plans and schemes are entirely my own again, and I can go tilting at new, exciting windmills. I've been getting little cosmic hints -- the right song comes on the radio just when I need it, new ideas start flooding in to fill the void, possiblities open up. I found myself with ten idle minutes on a quiet part of campus the other night, so I stretched out in the grass and looked up at the stars until I felt like I was falling into them. And then a big, bright shooting star crossed right above my head, and a dozen different wishes that brought tears to my eyes all tumbled out at once.
Then the next day I went to a bookstore to find a book that I needed sooner than the library could get it for me, and I stopped and looked for something to speak to my current situation. And in the book I found, I read these lines:
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope|
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing