Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday in the City

The day started out at at Fringe Salon to get my hair done. I was early for my appointment so I stopped in a couple of stores on Orchard. The first was a tony little boutique that sold $85.00 tiny silver necklaces, $500.00 dollar bags by designers I've never heard of, and stretched out cashmere sweaters for $200.00. I was playing my little game of: if I had money to burn what would I buy? And the answer here was--- nothing, I would buy nothing. Not even the bright orange ankle boots with kitten heels.

The next stop was Ernest Sewn, famous for $200.00 blue jeans. The shop was manned by two tiny Asian women who were fussing over an even smaller dog who wore a designer yellow trench coat and even smaller black ankle boots with real laces. The design of the shop has a rough hewn aesthetic (think logging camp in old town Seattle), also tiny and claustrophobic. Surely these are not jeans for real people, or just not people of my size. Even with going to the gym 4X a week, the largest size wouldn't fit over my right thigh. I love how, in this neighborhood, Ernest Sewn is next door to a shop that sells women's uniforms (think nurses and cleaning ladies) that had to have been there since 1950 or earlier.

After I had four inches lopped off and was gorgeously coiffed, I jumped on the F train to meet my friend Marc to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, and curiously I liked it. I didn't expect to--- I figured it was going to be all about prosthetics and make-up and even though it was about prosthetics and make-up, the palette was larger. Set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina, an old woman languishing from cancer tells the story via a diary of her lover. A man who aged backwards. I haven't quite parsed what made his character so poignant. As Marc astutely pointed out, Brad Pitt minus the FX wasn't as arresting as Brad Pitt with all the bells and whistles.

As the old man who is really young, he is more a character out of mythology or a fairy tale. He exists outside of our time yet he is part of it. He experiences what we do in our ordinary journey though the abstraction of time, but in reverse. He meets his great love at the midpoint of his life, the two of them poised at a fragile intersection, Benjamin going backward and his lover going forward--- and this perhaps is true of all love stories, great and small. When we fall in love it is an evanescent thing, fragile and lmythical, and not destined to last. Like youth. Benjamin lives out the trajectory of his backward life and dies as an infant, yet he has lived 70 years.

After the movie, Marc and I walked back to his house for a vodka tonic. I was thinking about time, about my life. I told Marc that I am now the same age as my much older lover when we split up. I told Marc that I am just a few years out from when my mother got cancer, and that my aunt is now older than my mother lived to be. Life is curious, that's for certain, love is curious that's even more certain, and nothing is more mysterious or fleeting or precious as time.

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