I write this the day before my birthday and three days before my wedding anniversary and two days before my third follow-up to my breast surgery a year and a half ago. My friend who very altruistically had an affair for me (because my diagnosis made her realize life is short and pleasure is well, pleasurable, and she thought we deserved to experience more pleasure), calls from… let’s say Boise (this is the tricky thing with memoir, I’m learning, you want to include the juicy, relevant details, but you don’t want to hurt people). So my friend “Gladys” (side note to all my friends who’ve had affairs, this is not you) has been urging me to see Waitress for months and while I haven’t made the time to do so, I think maybe that’s what I should do the night before my follow-up appointment.
Let me back up:
While I love movies, I rarely take the time to see them in the theater. I wait for DVD. But a year ago when I was scheduled for my first post-surgical check-up, I decided that the thing I should do was go to a movie in a theater where the popcorn-infused lobby, the big dark space, the cushy seats, the Dolby surround sound, the over-sized images on the screen, would transport me out of my neurotically neurotic self and into another world. I wanted something light and mindless and funny. So I chose You, Me and Dupree (the movie with Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson, the guy she ended up leaving her husband for and recently broke up with). Although I have to say I’ve never understood Owen Wilson’s appeal (or her ex-husband’s appeal for that matter) but that’s probably another topic altogether… am I going off on too many tangents (Kristy? Eileen? Someone? Anyone?) I’m brand new to this blogging grogging thing (which I think makes me a virgin. Can I say virgin?), and while I think it’s okay to go off topic, is it okay to go off topic within the topic? Anyway, from the moment the movie started, I was laughing. While I don’t find Owen Wilson appealing, I do think he’s funny, in that goofy way I was craving. I mean when they caught him masturbating (am I allowed to use the word masturbating?) in the living room, it was hilarious. And Kate Hudson was just plain silly in that skinny little Kate Hudson way. I guess I could have gotten a little irritated with how skinny she is. But I didn’t. I just thought she probably hasn’t eaten pasta since she blew up 70 lbs. in her pregnancy and too bad for her. But the movie did exactly what I’d hoped it would. It kept me from obsessing about my appointment for exactly 109 minutes.
Then six months ago, before my one-year check-up, I decided to do the same thing, go to a movie for distraction. This time I had my eye on Little Miss Sunshine. Simple story line: Quirky family does everything in their power to get non-beauty pageant type little girl to beauty pageant. So off I went the night before and laughed so hard I cried. Again, it did exactly what I needed. It took me out of my worst-case scenario head and teetering up that rocky cliff with that little girl in her cowboy boots, laughing the entire way.
And now there’s Waitress that “Gladys” from “Boise” has been urging me to see because she says it answers the question I keep asking her: “How exactly did it happen?” And while it isn’t quite the escapist kind of movie I chose the first time, or the laugh out loud funny movie I chose the second time, and it has a messier, more complicated story line: Depressed pie-making waitress in abusive marriage gets pregnant by abusive husband, feels trapped, has affair with OB, I think it’s the perfect movie to see this time. And this makes me think perhaps I’m in a slightly different place with my fear of recurrence now. While I’m still scared about my check-up, I’m not as compulsively scared as I was the last two times (which kind of scares me because I think I read somewhere that people who don’t think they will have a recurrence have a higher rate of recurrence. Or maybe I didn’t read that at all. I’m not sure). And while I haven’t actually seen Waitress yet, and I’m not sure sure how I will react to it, my willingness to see it makes me think there has been a progression in my way of coping with my fear. Out of mind mindlessness inching towards I don’t know… mindfulness. I know I can’t control the outcome of my tests, but every moment of every day I can choose to live as fully as I allow myself, embracing the good, the bad and the ugly. A progression that I hope mirrors my own. And how does this relate to movies? I am grateful that good movies and good books (like the ones that recently debuted here and the ones soon to debut here again), have the ability to makes us laugh and cry and think. Especially when we need them most.