Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Three Story Life: CSI Family

Yesterday, back from the grocery store and setting dinner on the table, I noticed the faucet (which the plumber just affixed pointing to the bigger sink section, because no, it was not built to swivel, and my brother had uncoupled it from the countertop forcing the swivel) was twisted over the other bowl. Who moved this? I asked. My father said, I didn't. And Scott didn't. I turned around from the sink to look at him expecting to have the phantom culprit revealed. I thought of my mother who, when no one in the house admitted to doing something, would say, then it's the ghost again. Nothing. Dad stared, silent. I had to ask, then who did? The cleaning people. During dinner I thought out loud - I don't remember putting ketchup away. I bought ketchup. Maybe it's still in the car, Dad said. I waited for more information. What is this - a police procedural? Psychic revelation? He just kept staring at me. I had to ask, why do you say that? He said because the car door's still open. ! I never finished taking the groceries in. When was he going to tell me? Tomorrow? When snow piled up on the passenger seat? And I wonder why I think I'm going crazy. It's a remake of Gaslight.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Interstellar Trailer: Women and Movies

Interstellar opens November 7. Christopher Nolan is writer/director. Thought I liked his work, but this week after checking, I like Batman Begins for the cinematography, so Wally Pfister is the appreciated one. Watched the Interstellar trailer and in less than 3 minutes got the gist of this storytelling. The trailer is a microcosm of what is egregious about the automatic treatment of women in movies. Fade in: Earth is a dust bowl. Check. Need to find another planet to f--k up. Check. Enter Our Hero. Socially responsible dad. "Now go out there and save the world." Seated demurely behind him on the journey is The Damsel. She may have been crying. On the distant planet there are the mountains seen from the sea. No, wait. Not mountains, waves. The woman is in the water, don't know why. Our hero is in the ship. She says "I'm not going to make it." Cut to hero in the ship. "Yes, you are." It would take more time than I'm willing to donate to check off the many things that are wrong about this trailer. The damsel is clearly defined as the weakling, and it took only 2 minutes and change. I don't really care about the guy. I do care how easy it is to position the man as strong, socially conscious, good parent AGAINST the crying, I can't make it female. And I'm furious and offended. The trailer makes no pretense of even trying to trick me into watching this film. To balance, I send appreciation and encouragement to the person/persons attached to this project who thought of women viewers and what they might think.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Patriarchy on the Windowsill

I awoke today from a dream saga that set me sitting on the side of the bed, wondering what the heck just happened. This was a trip through decades. There were pieces of my life story, but it felt like an everywoman journey of struggle and pushing back. Against hostile bosses, thwarting spouses, patronizing colleagues, indifferent others – and I was awakened forlorn. Sitting on the edge of my bed in despair and confusion. That's not my normal setting. I can hit the reset mood button just as all women have to regularly in a world with entitled masculine energy paramount. The long dream felt like a trip down memory lane through the centuries, the way female humans have experienced it. I had to shake it off, and it was lucky to talk with a friend who called. I use humor as a survival mechanism and it works most of the time, but the conversation was necessary today to rise out of the melancholy. There's just some shit that's not funny. Humor comes from that pile. Humor is the other face of tragedy (which explains those theatrical masks, although separate isn't entirely accurate.) I made a commitment for next Sunday to go to a standup comedy coaching thing in Ypsilanti at The Mix. Caregiving is a rich environment for comedy. At the core of my caring comedy/tragedy is a golfball with 10-27-96 on it. It's the day my father got a hole in one. It's the day I was diagnosed with cancer. For 10 years I've lived with this golfball on the windowsill. You can see that when I'm struck with the date, I use my soapy hands to try to obscure the day. It took me 7 years to work around that pain of understanding that his pleasure trumps my pain: the crux of patriarchy. I switched the date to the back – he switched it to the front. Yesterday I noticed that he 1) managed to find the permanent marker without asking where it was, and 2) used it to write the date anew on the reverse. Rotating the ball won't help now. Doing some standup comedy, overcoming that fear, definitely will. And maybe it will help some other women, too.