11 April 2009

Nostalgia redux

I have always defined nostalgia as a longing for an emotion that I never had, and after seeing the film Adventureland, I am more certain that this definition serves me well. Described as a coming-of-age film, Adventureland concerns the ‘adventures’ of a group of recent college graduates and those still enrolled during a summer employment at Adventureland, an amusement park replete with games and rides. By coming of age is usually meant an introduction to sex, the experience of disappointment (applied not to sex but to relations in which sex occurs), to life’s harshness and to an awareness of life’s beauty--usually seen from the perspective of a heterosexual relationship which ends the film. There is always the requisite difficulty with parents, a titillating flirtation by a character or two with class politics (usually through heterosexual relations), and concern with money and employment. This film was no different.

I would have loved to have had the lives lived that summer by the main characters, Em and Benning. I wanted their life. Their life was the perfect coming of age I should have had.

But my life didn’t happen that way, and I am nostalgic for that life. My angst was much less lovely, and organized and focused. My shirts got dirty, and either my parents were not so oblivious, or I was more terrified of them than I like to recall. My summer job often occurred in rain and in dirty factories, and we ate our meals in silence in our homes. There was not some glorious close-knit community of college students smoking dope, drinking and having sex.

And though Ronald Reagan appears in the film explaining away Iran-Contra, I think, there is no politics in the film. This was a perfect summer of peace, albeit with a series of relationship issues that all work out in the end, thank you very much.

So I experienced a perverse enjoyment; someone up there on the screen was living the life I wanted, and I was having a vicarious pleasure watching their life and wishing it had been mine.

05 April 2009

April Snows

I think I’m just going to ignore today’s April snow. Oh, it was a significant fall—white covers the ground as in early December and January, though at this time of the year the snow is wet and heavy and not dry and fluffy. It doesn’t so much crunch under foot as collapse.

But other than the immediate path to my cabin door, I’m not shoveling. By afternoon or evening, the warmer air will begin to melt the snow I haven’t moved off of my path, and by mid-week (Passover with snow on the ground seems an affront to the whole concept of the holiday) all of the snow will be gone again. These late snows remind me of Jack Nicholson in The Shining: after opening a huge whole in the door with his ax, he presses his face maniacally to the whole and sinisterly says, “Honey, I’m home.” Nature is standing outside of my door with the ax.

Cleaning the kitchen for Pesach. There were crumbs in the toaster I didn’t recognize as bread! There was food on the shelves purchased immediately after last Passover and the jars are still there. The stainless steel looks stainless again.

And the damn snow falls as did the heavenly blessed manna.