Friday, 27 May 2011

Love and The Waitress

After five years of marriage and six of living together, it sometimes seems that David and I can sit in the same room and read each others’ thoughts. This can of course be advantageous. It can even save face when one of us needs to be reminded not to mention that thing! You must know what I’m talking about. It isn’t always as effective as a swift kick under the table however.


The other night I watched a film called The Waitress, starring Keri Russell and written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly. A friend lent it to me after I shared with her my musings of selling pies at the farmers market. From the cover I thought I had it pegged – cute girl in waitress uniform meets dishy guy who walks into her life exactly when she requires and he falls for her irresistible pie-making prowess and blah blah blah...happily ever after. So many times a version of this has been sold to us, this postcard love story.

(This is why I mentioned that I can read David’s mind)

Laura inserts DVD into player. David’s mouth is shut, however this does not betray what seeps into the air.

“I know what you’re thinking”

“I haven’t said anything!”

For those who want to see it, too bad, I am telling you now that she does NOT end up with that cute guy on cover and thank GOD for that. I will not rave about this movie, but I will walk away from it satisfied that someone has told us a story with a greater resemblance to real life, in that way at least. Why do we fall for the people we do? We can spend our lives trying to build a narrative for the decisions we make (and we do) but at the root of it all is something we cannot grasp. For some this might be worrying but examined from a different angle it can be beautiful.

Experience reveals the complexity of human relations.

At the behest of romantic comedies I spent my teenage years packing relationships into neat boxes. I expected all arguments to end with haste and hugs. Days of marriage would ooze with cuddles, agreement and endless understanding. Families lived together like they did in Full House and every other sitcom packaged into a 30-minute blissful resolution.


Love (or the love I have in my life) is powerful, but like the waves of the ocean love it has peaks and troughs. You wade through difficult periods and then something awakens inside and you once again realize why and how much you do (indeed!), love this person in front of you, beside you, behind you and with you.

And yet it is never that simple.

So thank you, Adrienne Shelly for giving us a quirky piece of art that reminds us that life, relationships and we humans are imperfect, and the best we can do is march uphill towards our dreams and love the ones around us while we go.

Tragically, Adrienne Shelly was murdered in 2006. Her husband, Andrew Ostroy established a foundation in her memory.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tables, Houses, and Storms on the Move

Perhaps the World Ends Here

by Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,

we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the

table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe

at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what

it means to be human. We make men at it,

we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts

of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms

around our children. They laugh with us at our poor

falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back

together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella

in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place

to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate

the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared

our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.

We pray of suffering and remorse.

We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,

while we are laughing and crying,

eating of the last sweet bite.

Last night, my early-to-bed attempts were interrupted by what sounded like a mean and drunk gorilla knocking holes into the sky with a big flickering flashlight. I commenced the curl-into-yourself-and-think-of-safe-and-pretty-places method of returning calm to my mind. Thunder and lightning danced the finale of their dispute right above my head until a turning earth pushed them elsewhere and I got to sleep again.

I got to thinking about disaster, about the recent earthquakes, tornadoes and floods. About how very little we actually control, but still hold tight to the illusion that we can. I thought about the impermanence of our stuff, how every time I walk into Crabtree Mall and see the dire, frenzied look on the shoppers' faces, I'd like to pick up their pretty bodies and sit them on a mountain, inside a canyon, or by a big fire next to a rugged guitar player. Then, for kicks, I'd smear some dirt on their nose and say, "Who needs Abercrombie, anyway?" I also want to do this for myself when I sink into ruts of worry. Call up a hellicopter and plop into a place where I can say everything by saying nothing and smile big while the Robin builds her nest.

That's what I love about this poem. It reminds me that no matter what: no matter what disaster, what worry, what heartbreak, there's a table (or a place) we can go to receive love, nourishment, healing, and acceptance. I think that's the point of love, however imperfect the outcome, to at least try, at least get the people around the table and do the best you can. I love how the author personifies dreams. "They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves," because sometimes, when we've tried and tried and tried and still, NOTHING: We
feel fallen apart, broken. And it's okay, because "we put ourselves back together once again at the table."

I think "the table" has different names. Tom Waits sings about "the house" in this song, and I think we can agree, Tom Waits knows what's up.


Corrie Lynn