November 6, 1999

Lazy Saturday

Happy Birthday to my brother Ted, who turns 19 today.

Today was too lazy by far. I meant to be far more productive than I ultimately was, but at least the massive amounts of mail that were piled up on the entryway table and the kitchen table and tucked up into the bookcase have now been opened and dealt with in some shape or form.

Most of it landed in the trash. I hate junk mail. However, all of the bills have been properly filed into the bill organizer and the magazines and catalogues piled neatly on the ironing board. Now I just have to actually pay the bills.

Sabs woke me this morning in the most kind and compassionate way that one can wake up a non-morning person: he came bearing hot tea with milk and a cuddly cat. He's such a sweetheart to put up with my attitude in the morning, truly he is.

I grumbled a bit later as I sorted out all that paper and he slept steadily with snores on the couch. He fell asleep just after lunch and stayed that way, even though I was tromping up and down all over the place cleaning things up.

I dragged the useless legless chairs out of the closet and got them ready to go down to the basement. I cleared a space for them in the basement storage area when I brought the trash down, and then I went through and gave the kitchen a once over.

In other words, there was lots of clanging and banging going on, but Sabs slept through it all. I think he could sleep through World War III if he was tired enough.

He woke up while I was finishing up the kitchen and wandered off all sleepy-eyed and crazy-haired to play with the computer while I whipped up some dinner. ON a spur of the moment whim, I proposed going to the movies and quickly looked up The Story of Us online. Erk, it was only playing at one theater, and not until 9:25pm. Plenty of time for dinner theoretically, since it was only just past seven.

Of course, things didn't work out that way. It took longer than I thought it would to cook dinner and Sabs didn't realize that the movie was playing at Potomac Yards, not the mall and when we got to the theater at 9:20 there was an enormous line to get tickets for The Bone Collector. I personally could not understand the appeal of the film, but Sabs kept insisting that he would want to see it and that it looked good enough to stand in line for.

Even though Sabs had dropped me off for tickets while he parked, we wound up getting into the actual theater late and it was dark, though not full. We found seats and settled in without a problem, though I do hate having to climb over people in the dark. I hate it when people do it to me and I don't like to inconvenience others either.

On the bright side, dinner was very yummy. I made chicken, chopped up into chunks and sauteed with onion and pre-boiled potatoes accompanied by a stir-fry of zucchini, yellow bell pepper, mushrooms and a bit of chopped onion with herbs and spices and a lot of garlic powder. It was quite tasty, warm, filling and healthy too since I used about a tablespoon and a half of mixed canola and olive oil.

And what about the movie, you might ask. Well, despite being panned by all critics whose reviews I read, I found the film to be poignant, meaningful and thought-provoking, if a little bit "subdued" stylistically speaking. The performances are all good, the dialogue is witty and funny in some places, tense and biting in others and over all, it was an interesting look at how a marriage can wind up in pain and pieces.

Critics universally called it "pat," "glib" or "too clever" but again, I think a lot of critics are jaded by watching too many movies and having to come up with something interesting to say about the glut of films on the market. While The Story of Us has its fair share of Hollywooodisms, on the the whole, it presents an honest look at how people can tear each other to shreds even when they love each other deeply.

I guess maybe the film resonated so strongly for me because I could see so much of my own relationships in it. I saw a lot of myself in the wife character, Katie. I also saw a lot of my former partners as well as Sabs, in the husband character Ben. In all honesty, the characters are broadly drawn, meaning that we don't get much insight into who these people were before they got married, so in many ways they represent a sort of middle-class everyman and everywoman, instead of being full fleshed out persons.

But again, that's exactly the point of the film: giving the audience-members symbols that they can identify with so that the message of the film has meaning. Ultimately, it was that message that stayed with me as we left the theater and engendered a serious discussion about why we both think that marriages fail. We pondered why certain couples manage to stay together, what is important to emphasize in child-rearing, why we think our relationship is strong, despite the fact that we have been in situations that were so similar to Katie and Ben's. We looked at our parents' marriages, myself happy that mine have managed to endure, Sabs sadly pointing out examples from the film that are similar to some of the factors that caused his parents' to fail.

So again, the film was worth it, if only because it spawned that kind of a discussion between us. A discussion that I think, helped to clear the air on some of the bad decisions and turmoil that have been the hallmark of this year in our lives.

The conversation continued up the stairs when we got home, onto the couch and into the bedroom, where we drifted off to sleep still quietly talking about what we believe, hope and dream.

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