Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When You're a Jet, You Stay a Jet

If Blogger had room for a subtitle, this post would be subtitled: "Or, Why You Should Like Random Old Things on Facebook."

Because today liking random old things on Facebook paid off for me.

I like West Side Story. Actually, that's an understatement. I LOVE West Side Story.

And here's why:

1. This moment of the movie. 'Nuff said.

2. I have a vague, blurry memory from childhood of my mom borrowing the VHS of West Side Story from the local library. At that time, I was too young to sit down and watch the whole movie and all it's dazzling dance moves, but I associate this dance masterpiece with my mom. (Who, coincidentally, minored in dance. Not too shabby.)

3. Ten years ago, during the 40th anniversary year, I attended my first live performance of West Side Story, put on by a community theater in a small town in Idaho. Despite it's amateur cast and design, that day will forever live in my memory. Because on the way to see that play, my parents told me and my sister we would be adding another member to our family. That member was my brother, who just this week celebrated his tenth birthday. (Also, at the end of the performance, we went to our favorite local burger joint and got autographs from half the cast on napkins. My sister got one from Chino. Classy.)

4. And today, I looked at my Facebook feed and what did I see? An announcement from whoever/whatever is in charge of updating the Facebook page of West Side Story that the film will be shown in theaters once again, ONE NIGHT ONLY, on November 9. You bet I'll be there. You bet I'll be snapping in the aisles. 'Cause when you're a Jet, you stay a Jet.

And to think, just minutes ago I thought Glee would be the only avenue I had for celebrating the 50th anniversary of this landmark musical that brings Shakespeare to the ghettos of New York City. I love you, Blaine and Mike, but Ice will always have my West Side Story heart.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What to say...

I feel a need to blog this day into words. In terms of cosmic significance, this day is unsubstantial. But in terms of personal resolve, this day is monumental.

Two weeks ago I wrote a fictional but autobiographical play about a girl who thinks too much. It was called Ruminate. I wrote it in hopes that it would act as an impetus for me to stop thinking and take action. Based on events over the weekend, I finally did. I made a choice. I decided to say NO MORE to that potential romantic interest (read: bottom-dweller who recently belittled by existence) who stepped right out of the lyrics of The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and the pages of the Old Testament when it was still okay to collect harems of women.

I vocalized that resolve today at 11:01 a.m. And by 2 p.m. I had seen Facebook evidence that he had also most likely vocalized his resolve to date someone else to that someone else. And it should have hurt, considering how long he's kept me hanging on. But it felt more like a breath of fresh air. So much of what I felt reminded me of something I'd read in a book. This was my Up a Road Slowly.

In the book, Julie gets her first boyfriend in high school but doesn't recognize that he's just using her for the homework help she provides. Their romance sours, lucky for her, and in the first-person narrative she writes these beautiful lines, a perfect description of how I felt today.

"I had gone to sleep in sorrow and longing; I awoke the next morning--and something had happened.

". . . It wasn't until seconds later that I realized how I was lying, cool and relaxed in my bed, with a sense of serenity and quiet happiness enveloping me. I made myself think of [him] as one might touch an old wound to determine whether or not it is healed, and the thought of him miraculously did not hurt. I was neither angry nor contemptuous.

". . . I wondered why so much had been written about love's pain and so little about the glorious relief of being delivered from love's pain."

So this post is about glorious reliefs and bright tomorrows and how, at least this once, ruminating saved me the pain of saying something I might regret to someone I'll concede brought out the worst in me. I am neither angry nor contemptuous.

Good night, dear void. I await the morning with serenity.

(And if you were playing along, did you catch all 4 You've Got Mail allusions?)

Monday, October 3, 2011

I'll Be the Fortune in Your Cookie

I must say, I like a certain amount of organized chaos in my life. And by my life I mean my wallet. And by organized chaos I mean ticket stubs and fortune cookie sayings in said wallet. They each have a designated compartment, but other than that, contrary to my genetically inherited librarian/accountant tendencies, I don't attempt to put them in order.

I still have every fortune cookie slip from the year and half I spent in Houston, Texas. And just now, it struck me to examine them as a blog subject. After all, they are one of the briefest places to write. The only smaller one I can imagine is coming up with paint and crayon colors. Very birthday card philosopher.

Here they are, my fortune cookie fortunes, broken into major categories.

PROVERBS--The key to any fortune cookie proverb is using a common object and making it even more common, er, universal.

Doors are an especially good candidate. "Do not wait for others to open the right doors for you." Or, "Opportunity is knocking on your door--answer it tomorrow." I've never met Opportunity personally, but I don't know how much it resembles the Postman in the Always-Rings-Twice area. All I know is, if it's knocking on my door, I'm answering today.

This proverb I actually like. "The best mirror is often a good friend." In other words, don't actually look into a mirror to check how you look. Ask a friend who can be both honest and caring to act as your mirror. Because sometimes we are too honest with ourselves when looking in a mirror and hardly caring at all.

But I have no idea what life lesson this next proverb is trying to put forth: "If the table moves, move with it." What does the 'table' symbolize? And why would it move? And if all your friends moved with the table off a cliff, would it really be in your best interest to move with that table?

CHARACTER TRAITS--This type of fortune tells you one of two things about yourself. Either it tells you something about yourself that you already know. Or it reminds you of an admirable quality you in no way possess. So it can be either useless or insulting.

"You have sound business sense." I don't think this is true of me, but who am I to denounce the Fortune Cookie gods?

"You are humorous and cheerful with good friends." I hope so. Otherwise I'd need new friends.

"Everybody feels lucky for having you as a friend." I hope so. Otherwise they'd want a new friend.

The best way to write this type of fortune is to say nothing by saying a very vague something. As in "You are gifted in many ways."

PREDICTING FORTUNES--These fortunes actually act as fortunes, by predicting an upcoming even in your life. They usually include time words or the future tense.

"Money and luck are favorable next month." Good, because my alleged sound business sense hasn't been helping me much during this one, and I can't answer the door to Opportunity until tomorrow.

"You will finally solve a difficult problem that means much to you." I like this one. I remember exactly when I got it, and I can think of many difficult yet meaningful problems I have solved since then. I can also think of many difficult yet meaningful problems I have yet to solve. But I know I will. My fortune cookie said so.

"You will advance socially without any special effort." I also like this one. I remember when I got it, too, and it was a lot more recently. This one is intriguingly motivating because it is both vague and positive. How will I advance socially? By getting a boyfriend? By getting my dream job? By getting both? Plus, it doesn't require any special effort on my part, so it validates what I am already planning for my life. Which involves both of those kinds of social advancement. Just so you know, Universe, I'm not putting in ANY special effort. None at all.

"You will travel far and wide, both pleasure and business." Is there anyone who doesn't want to get that fortune? An aspiring Olympic correspondent loves getting it.

FILL-IN-THE-BLANK FORTUNES--This category could also be called Form Fortunes: sentence structures that can be used repeatedly by altering key words (usually nouns) to create different fortunes. These are the Mad Libs of fortune cookie sayings. In the following examples bolded words can be easily replaced.

"Remember yesterday, but live for today." Remember high school, but study in college. Remember your Social Security number, but don't count on collecting Social Security. Remember to advance socially, but don't make any special effort.

"To be content with little is true happiness." To be unhappy with politics is true democracy. To be pleased with one's self is true peace. To be blessed with family is true joy. To be at Wimbledon with Roger Federer is true living.

"Do not mistake temptation for opportunity." Do not mistake a friend for an enemy. Do not mistake Sean Penn for Dustin Hoffman. Do not mistake that knock at your door for the opportunity of a lifetime--at least until tomorrow.