Life is Not a Chick Movie, Redux

Some years ago I began a book. In truth, I’ve started several books, but they were never finished before the landscape of the words changed beneath me, or because of me and/or other characters involved, or whatever combination or disclaimer I wish to apply to the non-finishment of the chronicles of those times. They’re all still around in one form or other, and when I happen upon them I go through a gamut of emotions in recalling what was happening in my life back then. Sometimes there is a laugh, sometimes tears, more often a smack to the forehead wondering how I got my behind wedged in that particular crack. A recurring theme has been a comparison of said life to a preponderance of chick movies, perhaps inspired by too much alone time spent watching such things, and gleaning pithy quotes or noting comparative situations that perhaps mimicked my own life, some more than others.

I have to admit a soft place in my soft heart (and soft head) for chick movies. Some are so terrible as to be pitifully entertaining, in a pathetically sick sort of way – the way some movies are so camp that they become classics for their very badness. The late Nora Ephron struck my heart too many times with her thoughts and the actions and the undying hope of her heroines that True Love must indeed exist, and that certain events were signs from the Universe that indeed it must be so, and Hope springs ever eternal, as it does even in the breast of an aging ingenue such as I – long past the “new.” At least I hope it still does. Does that become a double negative then, negating itself, when you hope for Hope?

And mentioning Hope springing where and however it does, if it still can, the girls got together to go see Hope Springs, the new movie with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, aging in their own rights, and I wondered what sort of chick movie experience we were in for.

It was already dark when we entered the theater, not much way to see who the viewers were, but I figured a generous dose of women folk of various ages, as these sorts of things are wont to be. The movie was more or less as expected, a serio-comic look at the machinations of a past sixtyish couple, rumpled and battered by Time and Fear and Disappointment, the usual suspects in such scenarios. They were both frumpish and in the throes of gravity and default detachment, but Meryl’s character wanted her marriage back, and was ready to scramble for her life if that weren’t a possibility. Perhaps it is better said that she wanted the life back in her marriage, and was willing to look for life elsewhere or elsehow if it came to it.

There followed silly and sad and awkward moments of reconnection, and remembering and relearning, and being very close enough to a chick movie, there was a happy ending. Much of the laughter in the theater was earned, but there was a hard edge to the obvious laughs, and many of the words spoken in the film were born of sadness, not really so funny if you got to the heart of it. Like a comparable disaster movie, (do you remember the 70’s?), the laugh-at dialogue was at times comic relief, because you needed to laugh instead of feeling so uncomfortable with some of the maybe too real situations on the screen. There was a lot of hurt in there, just like real life. That again.


When the movie ended and the credits had rolled, (we always stay for all the credits and whatever comes with them), and then the lights came up, imagine my surprise to see ourselves surrounded by several, and I mean more than a few, very much older couples. I do believe there were more couples than single or multiple groups of chick types, and whoda thought? I wonder if the producers knew they were going to tap this demographic?

One in our group is a particularly boisterous type, and she immediately spoke up and asked these couples how long they’d been married, or together. Thirty-one years was the first reply. And then the pair right in front of us, he leading the way and she limping along behind needing a bit of help – well she then said they’d been married fifty years. Wow. There was another couple in front of them, and the guy was standing there facing us and obviously getting a kick out of the exchanges of conversation. When he got asked how long he and his lady had been together, he smiled, having himself a heckuva time, and cracked,” Oh, about an hour and a half.” Hilarious, and what a character. Lady Wife had to patiently wait in the aisle as he continued to own the floor. I expect she was well used to it. He then asked each of us how long we’d been married. One was eighteen years, one had made it fourteen on her longest, and then me….. Well, I expect there was maybe only one of my type in the theater – there aren’t many of us – and there are special names for us. I’m still not sure of my reaction to my own answer – it still somehow surprises me. “Never have.” No matter how you spell it, I’m a spinster. Perhaps not as one envisions that word, least of all me. What can I say? I usually say, when cornered about how that happened, or didn’t, that I could’ve been divorced three or four times by now, and it is, in a certified chick movie dialogue retort, “a version of the truth.” For whatever reason, I felt like the Queen with no clothes. And I still couldn’t tell you exactly why.

My ship came in a few weeks ago – the one I figured I’d been waiting for lo these many years. It came into harbor and about ran me over with all good intentions and everything I ever asked for, and I’m not sure I’m not still covered in some beach mud and a bit of tar and wood splinters and barnacles from the impact and collision of the landing. Funny thing is, the ship’s gone again, called away for Serious Duty sort of like being called to war, and I’m standing at the harbor again wondering WTF happened. Life happens –  it always does – and I guess it did, and now I’m back to just me again, and as is my usual MO in the aftermath of any venture or maybe adventure, analyzing the holy crap out of it. Meryl Streep had the same gut response to a particular question that threw her: HUH? I found it to be about the funniest line in the movie, not so much in my own particular life. Both questions, hers and mine, require serious pondering.

Last time I wrote, (and sorry and ain’t it funny how time slips away – it’s as usual been too long), I was exclaiming about reading my own book and words, and how what I wrote at the time of the writing ended up being not what I thought it was about at all. Incredibly, yet AGAIN, even the second (or third? fourth?) consideration of those concepts has revealed other Ah HAs, as I keep manifesting my own unexpected consequences to new experiences, that I SO thought I had a handle on. Beware ever thinking you’re all that when it comes to figuring out what life’s all about – be aware of the two by four coming at your forehead to see if you’re really paying attention, and if you really have learned. Or even considered all the possibilities. And here then, is another test! I obviously needed a refresher course, or Continuing Ed, and here it be. How very INTERESTING. Still learning, after all these years. Don’t you just love it when you get bit in the butt by serving – so automatically as old habits still die hard, or evidently not at all –  all the old unrewarding and just plain uncomfortable behaviors and thought patterns of that life you THOUGHT you had mastered in the curriculum, and where’s that damned diploma, anyway? Looks like I need to be considering graduate school. Fie. Again.

I am of the belief, or so say, that we manifest just what we need, or at the least what it is we are thinking about, and it is delivered summarily unto us by the attending Universe, (insert belief system here), like it or not. It is rather a cold shower when we are perhaps doing not so swell with what we got delivered unto, even though said belief system offers that indeed we ordered the damned thing. Did we forget the finite details of our manifestation, or did we get just what we needed? Did Mick Jagger have it right all along – we might not get what we want, but we get what we need? Argh. Did I get what I wanted, and couldn’t handle it? And why? Could it be we, (the Royal We), need more WORK? Jeez…. Still?

I won’t know the answers for a while. Maybe a long while. Meantime it’s up to me to do the best I can, remember FAITH, trust in the GOOD, trust myself, and keep breathing in and out and putting one foot in front of the other. Wallowing in the doubt and questions does little except make the mud pit deeper, and further encrust the subject with the stuff of mud – maybe a good thing in a spa, but not so swell in the enlightenment department. We’re working to shed the layers, not swaddle ourselves in more, whatever their description. More chocolate is not going to help – not this time.

I’m pushing forward – doing things – tackling projects – making me better. With that, I can HOPE that all the answers will come, as and how they should. Perhaps putting Action with Hope, instead of wallowing in default and the old What Happens Happens dump of Responsibility, will build roads instead of walls. Well, maybe walls are at times good things, but I sure need big windows.

Good luck to all of us, tending our harbors, and may our ships not show up at the bus stop. Or may we not be at the train station, taking pictures, or otherwise occupied with the life we’re living, being a little careless with the details, having lost sight of the harbor. It’s a dance, and I do love to dance, but sometimes the music is too loud, or you can’t quite hear it. But we know we remember the steps, if we can just get our feet to move again, and trust that the floor will hold us.

Peace Y’all, and answers if you need them.


2 Responses to “Life is Not a Chick Movie, Redux”

  1. Well done sista Lex. You said it all and then some! I applaud your sense and sensibilities. My best, your gal pal, Tracey

    • Thanks. This post has also spawned a fairly lively response on Facebook…. hitting more than a few nerves. Nothing like a chick movie to get the dialogue going. Well, amongst us women, anyway. However I was happy to see a very positive response to the movie by a MAN who reviewed it on Sunday morning today. To him, I say Well done, too.

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