Today, my daughter, son, a friend, her daughter and I went to the dollar movie to see Pitch Perfect. Somehow, I had missed seeing this movie which is entirely up my street, with a cappella choirs singing competitively. It was shot partially at LSU, where my daughter is studying, so she actually saw some of the action, including running into the ultra-tiny Anna Kendrick on campus.
Anyway, I enjoyed the movie so, so much. My son, the soccer coach, gave it an 8 out of 10, which seems about right, but my enjoyment was pretty much maximum. It was funny, which was a bonus, but the singing and the music were just wonderful. So that was a good way to spend the afternoon, we all agreed.
We drove home to find the historian having spent a satisfying afternoon reading, napping, and taking the dog for a walk, all in the blessed, blessed calm of a house where almost everyone but himself was gone. He and I had a date planned--we were going to get Mexican food and then go to the Tower, where they were showing City Lights. This seemed both delightful and also virtuous, City Lights being a film I had never seen before, a venerable film, part of the history of film, and entirely worthy.
But as we were talking at dinner about all sorts of things, including Pitch Perfect, I said, "I would see it again in a heartbeat."
"Maybe we should do that," he suggested.
I paused. If the pause had been shot in slow motion, it would have been a really really really really long pause, my fork suspended between my enchilada and my mouth, my mind filled with the history of my relationship with the historian, with the many, many moments when he said or did something sweet that he knew might make me happy. The pause would also have included the full extent of the ethical dilemma: should I see a film that would fill in a gap in my knowledge, and thus take the dutiful path of obligation and seriousness? should I instead see a film that was, in all honesty, sort of a throwaway, and for a second time? in the same day? and would the historian enjoy it? and would I be selfish if I said yes? well, would I?
So I said, "Really? Wouldn't you prefer to see City Lights?" ( . . . and all that choosing that film implies, I thought, fleetingly.)
"Not necessarily," he said. He looked like he meant it too.
So that's what we did. And the people, I did enjoy Perfect Pitch for a second time on the same day, and very much indeed.
After we got home from walking the dog, running son (on crutches--the running is existential, not actual, at least not at the moment) was upstairs, rummaging in the refrigerator. "How was City Lights?" he asked.
I told him what we had done. "On the same day?" he said, shaking his head. (Literally: he shook his head at me.) "Did you enjoy it, John?"
"I did," said the historian. He sounded like he meant it.
"Seeing a movie twice in one day makes you feel free," I said to the historian, putting on my robe. "Because you just do it because you want to, and you don't feel like you should go see this or that film, just because you haven't seen it yet."
Yep, the people: these are the lengths we go to around here--and by "we" I mean "me"--not to let things be the boss of us. Like Charlie Chaplin. Or movies we haven't seen. (But for real, I did love Pitch Perfect:)