Thursday, August 9, 2007

Here is How I was Almost an Asshole Today

Another movie-related post. I will try to do something about Typewriters or the Bad Time I Had at the Apple Store soon, in order for there to be variation. Until then though, there's this.

As anyone who knows anything about the greater Boston is well aware, there is a lot of stuff to see between stops on the T, which is why walking everywhere is important (biking is not important because biking is a good way to get killed while operating a device that makes listening to music unsafe). Anyway, what’s relevant here is that there exists a video rental place on the stretch of Mass Ave between Harvard Square and Central Square, and I happened to pass by it on my walk to Kinkos.* The franchise has at least two other locations – one in Davis and one on Mass Ave between Porter and Harvard, if that was information you wanted to know. I am getting off track though.

I saw something as I passed by the video store (the one between Harvard and Central, not the one between Porter and Harvard). It was this poster, hanging in a window, surrounded by yellow “caution” tape. I looked at the poster, and I read the words on it, and I processed the words on it. Here is where things get troubling: somewhere, probably in some highly-evolved human-only bullshit region of my brain, the thought “go in there and rent that” occurred. Obviously the more basic, survival-first parts of my mind (everything in the brainstem for example) recoiled from this notion by dumping hormones and adrenaline into my blood. Digestion stopped, respiration increased, and my senses became heightened as my body dealt with this threat. But still, just for a second, part of me actually thought that it would be a good idea to watch David Lynch’s 3-plus hour movie about…I don’t even know what it’s about. That is not the information I requested. But look, I have reached a conclusion about all of this: while I strive to be a good person, and to live a decent life, I am on some level – however repressed or minimal – a terrible asshole. At my age the desire to watch a David Lynch movie without knowing anything about it makes one a terrible asshole.

I don’t want to turn this into a big whole thing about David Lynch, but I feel like I might have to in order to fully explain myself. Let’s first get one thing straight: I don’t enjoy Lynch’s movies the way I enjoy regular, designed-for-humans movies.** I tried to watch “Eraserhead” once when I was barely a high school student, and wound up being pretty badly harmed. In early 2006 I watched “Mullholland Drive” and was reasonably harmed. More recently I watched “Lost Highway” and was not harmed too badly, but then I watched all of “Eraserhead” and was really badly harmed. Despite all of this, I’ll probably watch “Blue Velvet” sometime soon and be harmed some amount, and God knows I'll get through all of Twin Peaks even if it kills me.

You’d think that, after all these seemingly bad experiences, I’d just give up on watching Lynch movies. But such is not the case. How is it that I am a moth and David Lynch movies are enormous, unshielded 60-watt light bulbs that I fly into? Why haven’t I learned anything from this? Maybe it’s something you grow into unwillingly, the way we look at our parents’ ways with disgust simply because we know that someday we will be like them, and it bothers us now. My dad loves Lynch movies. He also loves watching golf on TV and listening to NPR. Maybe someday I will love Lynch movies and these other things too, after I have lived long enough to hate everything that makes people happy, and to have given up on making sense out of the world. At that point it won’t matter though, will it?

*I went to Kinkos so that I could see about getting that skyline picture I told you about a few days ago printed in big, nice paper. The man at Kinkos was very helpful and it looks like Friday will see the existence of that Nice Print.

**There are two exceptions to this: "The Elephant Man" was good, and "The Straight Story" was very endearing and sweet. Neither of these movies involved cowboys being in two places at once or a baby who falls apart and makes a terrible mess.


alex said...

i would recommend not watching Blue Velvet.

Miles D said...

This is something I have to do. It is complicated.