Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Signs And Refuges

When my dog is sick, if we haven't noticed anything funny we know because he gravitates to my Dad's bedroom, which is strictly out-of-bounds. Oscar will risk the unleashing of hell and push his way in there, even hopping onto Dad's bed, just to be close to and secure in the scent and domain of the pack leader. I was thinking about that today when I felt miserable, and asked Vincent to put on Breakfast At Tiffany's for me before he went back to work.

When I'm sad or sick, I listen to Bon Iver and maybe Iron & Wine, for quiet and soothing. I read I Capture The Castle, although I find the book incredibly unsettling, in spite of the humour; the point of the book is that it is a journey, but the start is where I feel happiest, and in spite of Cassandra's hopefulness at the end, I always feel sad and nostalgic for the beginning. Nevertheless, its familiarity and the enjoyment I get from it makes it comforting, and by the time I get to the end I've usually perked up enough to accept that life is not always the way I might want it to be.

This afternoon I thought about what Breakfast At Tiffany's does for me. I first watched it at a very impressionable age, when I had no idea of the book (which I actually still haven't read) and Capote's unhappiness with Audrey Hepburn's casting (although I have never had any defense for Mickey Rooney's Mr Yunioshi - Jesus Christ). I don't know how much of the story I really understood; I was just dazzled by the apparent glamour of Holly's lifestyle, especially her beautiful clothes. (I've never understood the huge fuss over the dress she wears at the beginning; my favourite has always been the one she wears to visit Sally Tomato the first time, with the amazing hat and the alligator shoes.) I thought it was romantic; "amusingly and superficially", I now see. Watching it today, I thought more about the story, and why it makes me feel better when I'm unwell or unhappy, aside from being familiar and having a happy ending, and I came to the conclusion that it's because somebody saves her. (I hate the idea of a white knight; it's patriarchal nonsense, with origins in a time when women were not allowed to help themselves, but I think the story could work the other way, with Paul as Holly and Holly as Paul.) I don't believe in God to save me, and I know even when I try my best I can be my own downfall. Breakfast At Tiffany's gives me comfort because Paul's love for Holly is enough to save her from herself; she spends nearly the whole film pushing him away and trying to attain something completely unworthy and just makes fuck-up after fuck-up, but it doesn't matter. He tries to help her, and he loves her, without compromising who he is, and without any illusions about her; he knows her and he trusts himself in that knowledge, even when she's adamant she's something else. When I feel weak or disillusioned, it's nice for me to know that this is possible, even though it's a story; I always hoped it might be real, and now I know it is. Not "amusing and superficial" romance, but "deep and important" love.

By the way, I've also discovered having this person doesn't protect you from getting the mean reds. But having someone to hug you through them makes almost all the difference.

Image from delighdujour.blogspot

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