Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunset walks & Contemplation

As I mentioned in a recent post we walk at dusk one day on the weekend because the light shifts are just too mesmerizing. Yesterday was one of those days.

Here's is but one tiny example of why I am addicted to this time of day.

After the walk yesterday we went to dinner with Ruth. We tried to go to this place, but it was closed much to my chagrin. Another attempt to eat here will be made, I assure you, I mean Laotian and Southern? Wow. Odd as it sounds, aren't you just a bit curious about a dessert titled "white potato pie"? Even just a little? We wound up eating at Boran, which is reasonably priced, and the food was decent. Not orgasmic but tasty, particularly the pad thai - my standard on which to judge all such restaurants. Actually the pad thai was rather addicting in flavor. A little sweeter and a different tangy than others I've had.

The rest of our evening was taken up by going to see "The Pursuit of Happyness", which I thought was a misspelling at the ticket booth's signage but actually inside the theater saw that misspelling was intentional. TGF said she was sure academy nominations would follow because it had three things that Hollyw**d loves: true story base, a happy ending, and a cute kid. No doubt that kid is beautiful but unlike many movies that have a really cute kid Jaden does not steal any moments but is a nice compliment to Will. Will Smith does an incredible job in several places in this movie, especially at the end where all his acting is in his facial expressions - breathtaking.

I had gathered a very rough idea of the premise before seeing it as it's not too hard to guess from the advertising on television but I was not prepared for the grittiness of it. Smith's character, Chris Gardner, is beyond down and out at several points in this film, the ache of desperation and hopelessness was incredibly palpable, for me anyway. At the same moment I was feeling the pain of his situation, another part of my head was churning away - did he really not know anyone who could help out, nowhere at all to turn? No friends or family, save his son, were portrayed in the movie. For me, maybe because of my starving student persona of the moment I kept putting myself in his shoes just a bit, breathing a little harder thinking what could happen that would put me where Chris was, how long would it take to sink that far. Unlike the story I have friends and family who would do their damndest to prevent me from falling that far. Would I ask though, if it meant a choice between a shelter and asking for help, could I let people know I was down that far? I would like to think so, but even more before that I would hope I would figure something out before having to ask.

The character and I intersect in that he infrequently asks, and when he does so, it's forced, awkward and lacking any context. I think I try to put in the context when I have been in the position to ask, but more often I probably try to bury my shame in having to ask in convoluted statements about how I cannot believe I got myself in this mess, that this is not who I really am, I am not this aberration of myself.

We are always ourselves, even in our most imperfect and unrecognizable. It is possible that in those vastly horrid times, when we do not see the person we know we really are, that we are made stronger, an improved version of the self we long to embrace without interruption. Without the interruption however, how would we know our true resilience. If we are never tested how could we trust ourselves enough to know that we can get through those times when we slog through, with no end in sight, the misery we are steeped in. How else do we have the faith to know there is the other side if we have never proven it to ourselves during a test of our fortitude where we do not recognize ourselves.


Anonymous said...

Beautifully written post, Dharma. Lots of food for thought about who we are, the tests we go through and how we recognize, or don't recognize, ourselves. I know that I learn the most about myself when I'm challenged. When I've risen from the depths of despair and have gotten through to the other side, I feel such peace and a real sense of self.

You make me want to see this movie more than I already did. :)

Anonymous said...

nobody likes trouble, but (un)fortunately i've seen enough of it that i know i can pretty much get through anything. i'm not superwoman but that is a good feeling, that calm and confidence, and i'm glad to have it.

good post!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog!

What a great blog you have - you're a natural born writer. I'll enjoy reading!

Anonymous said...

I saw this movie with my SO and sister the day before Christmas and cried thru the whole thing.

I too wondered at the lack of connection to anyone besides the son, wife and one friend.

It made it more tender for me to know that the child is actually Will's son. When he sits in the BART station bathroom with tears running down his face - someone pounding on the door - holding his son. Very moving.

Great write up. Thanks

wen said...

dharma--great photo! i, too, have wanted to try that restaurant before. funky building, neat menu...

and the last paragraph of your post--delicious writing! :)

Jbeeky said...

Amen my sister.............

Wyatt's Mom said...

this is a great post. when ya gonna update? great minds want to know, ya know :)