WHAT I WATCHED
With you. All of you. The yous, the different, important yous in my life.
I remember the scenes so vividly. All I have to do is press pause in my mind, rewind and it will play for me in vibrant technicolor and classic black and white.
The Mosquito Coast with River Phoenix (well not with River Phoenix but he was in the movie) as I lay in my hotel bed in Costa Rica desperately trying to avoid a Latin Louse who couldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Notes slide under my door from the hotel staff. A man is calling. A man is always calling. Sometimes it’s nice, other times - less so. This particular one tried to get me to eat an hallucinogenic flower that grew wild there. I didn’t. I went back to my room, alone, and watched The Mosquito Coast with River Phoenix (well not with River Phoenix, but he was in the movie.)
Mae West paid me a visit in I’m No Angel while I lay post-op at Cedar Sinai. High on pain meds, I happily dosed in and out of her quippy one liners convinced they were directed at me and only me.
Valmont was such a joy while I did my laundry in my first ever solo apartment in West Hollywood. I drank martinis and felt so grown up. My own place, my own dog, my own laundry, watching what I want when I want to. Viva la Valmont!
The Flintstones kept me company at 4:00am while my dog, Addie, was asleep on the bed. I kept the show on as I tried to stay awake and away from the visiting aliens. If I never went to sleep – they couldn’t get me. (yeah. that’s right. I just wrote that bit about the aliens. But this is a story, an essay, a spoken word, a poem, a creative blurt, right? So who knows what is real and what isn’t? ) Still, The Flintstones I remember clearly playing on my pre-flatscreen television in that tiny apartment on Hammond, keeping me company.
Parenthood, the movie, with Steve Martin, screened for me many a time. Each with a lover who didn’t know of the other, “No, I’ve never seen Parenthood, let’s watch it!” I guess I couldn’t tell them I had seen it because I’d have to tell them with whom. I was a different person back then, still figuring it all out. And there was Keaunu making his repeat performance. I could quote the movie in its entirety.
Cause that’s what little dudes do.
Ice Age in that horrible rent a hell hole in the valley you made me live in. Well, not live in, but stay in. But, only for a little while. I found another place soon enough.
Almost Famous – with both of you whom I no longer know. I said out loud, “What a great film. I can’t believe this is the last film I will see before someone I love dies.”
Just a few hours later – one brother called to tell me about the other brother.
Six Feet Under aired the first night I came back from sitting shiva. It somehow eased me through it all.
Falling asleep to Taxi episodes. Alex was so comforting. Elaine Nardo so lucky to be surrounded by Bobby Wheeler and Tony and all the guys. I wanted to be Nardo. You’d turn the TV off when I drifted off to sleep. I’d dream of the Sunshine cab company and giving Louie DePalma a piece of my mind.
Moonstruck in your grandma’s house. You love me? well….”snap out of it!”
The Peppertree theatre in the valley. You took me to see The Fog, The Wall and my all time favorite… Harold and Maude. I was ten. You were my hero. I snuck in and watched Heavy Metal with you. Perverted, strange and trippy. Not you - the movie. And I liked it.
Escape from Witch Mountain in my condo on Cynthia street, on my bed with Addie. I called you to tell you it was on. I couldn't believe I went so many years without watching it again. Feeling misunderstood – just like the child witches. How can people not see their power? My power? How come none of us ever see each other’s powers?
The Shinning – the one made for TV. Scarier than the movie. Also in the condo with Addie. I wanted someone there to watch it with me. A person. Not just any person. A person of character, a person of strength, a person of… personhood. Not just anybody, not just any…body.
I didn’t sleep that night.
I stayed awake thinking.
Thinking far too hard about things I couldn’t change.
Terms of Endearment when my parents were away. You stayed with me in the townhouse for the first time. It was our first night with each other. I told you all about my theatre company experiences. You listened to me - in my parents kitchen – like I was the most fascinating person you had ever met. Who knows? Maybe I was.
Harold and Maude – everywhere, with everyone. From every home I’ve ever lived in.
I told you the day we met, “to know me is to know this movie.”
So you rented it that day.
When you told me that, I wasn’t sure if I believed you.
We were married a year later.
I believe you.
I seem to forget many things, I always have, but if a movie or TV show is on, chances are it will bookmark the occasion,
engraving the time into my mind,
bringing me back instantly to all of the yous and every moment that brought me to here.
And I love it here.