Sunday, April 5, 2015

With All the Frills Upon It

This whole world's wild at heart and weird on top.

But would I want it any other way?

The first order of business was a drive to the Northern Neck to see my parents.

Cruising down Route 360, I wound up in the left hand lane which became a problem when a monster truck came up behind me. There was nowhere for me to move over and since I was going 63 in a 60 mph zone, the driver was not happy.

Sorry, buddy, nothing I can do.

Further on, I spotted a cop on the median, his radar gun pointed directly at traffic. I wasn't in the least worried; since I don't speed, Johnny Law doesn't concern me.

After passing the cop, I was able to pull into the right lane and let Mr. Big Truck pass me by. The funny part? He didn't blow by.

Instead, he slowed down next to me, smiled his best smile and saluted me. He and I both knew my old lady driving had just saved him from an Easter speeding ticket.

From there, he became my guardian angel, politely following a few car lengths behind me for the next 45 minutes until I put on my signal to turn off toward my parents' hamlet.

When he saw that, he flashed his lights, saluted me again and waved goodbye, continuing on.

It had been in Tappahannock that I'd first seen cars with people - men and women - in Easter hats. It seemed like such a throwback. Being the card-carrying heathen that I am, I'd almost forgotten the holiday.

But of course my Mom hadn't and she was putting a ham in the oven as I arrived.

Part of the reason for my visit was to help her file their taxes online, a slow process given their limited wi-fi accessibility, but I persevered, as Dad read the newspapers in the family room with me and Mom puttered about nearby in the kitchen.

At one point, I jokingly called out to her, asking about any gambling winnings.

Without so much as rustling his Washington Post, my father responded nonchalantly from behind his paper. "I don't think she has any and I don't report mine."

I cracked up at his casual reply. Before the afternoon was over, he'd be watching horse racing on TV, a long-time passion of his. I have childhood memories of stopping after church so he could pick up The Daily Racing Form at the drugstore.

It was a gorgeous day to be at the river, sunny and almost 70 degrees, their property covered in daffodils and hyacinths in bloom. When I finally said my goodbyes, it was to try to make it home in time for Movie Club at Strange Matter.

My first mistake was in not laying claim to one of the front row recliners when I walked in, so I had to settle for a regular chair. That won't happen again. Live and learn, girl.

Usually Movie Club's starting time is a loosey-goosey affair, but Strange Matter had a show immediately after the film tonight, so for a change the film started on time. I'd ordered a bowl of chili beforehand, but the film was already in progress when I heard my name called out loudly from behind the bar and I went to claim my dinner.

On the (somewhat) big screen tonight was "Wild at Heart," chosen as a tease to the upcoming Twin Peaks festival, The Great Southern. And, sure, I'd seen it when it came out in 1990, but all I remembered was how over the top it seemed at the time.

Not a lot's changed in a quarter of a century.

It had all the '80s trademarks: huge hair, high-waisted jeans, red fingernails, lots of Spandex, a metal band. Most significantly, women had strong eyebrows as opposed to the over-plucked lines that pass for eyebrows now. Thank you, Brooke Shields.

The supposedly southern accents sounded completely fake and put on, there were still so many huge '70s cars around and seat belt-wearing (even for children) was non-existent.

One line that particularly struck me was Laura Dern's concern about the growing hole in the ozone layer, to which Nicolas Cage assures her it won't be an issue in their lifetime. Sadly, called that one wrong.

It was interesting being in a room full of people who had either been zygotes or in diapers when the film first came out. Several spent more time looking at their phones than the film despite how bizarre it was.

One girl kept taking photos of the screen. Why? There was a lot of awkward, inappropriate laughter at things not intended to be funny.

As opposed to actual humor, such as Cage responding with, "Man, I had a boner with a capital "O" in his pseudo-Elvis accent or, "You really are desperately cute, baby" when he can't figure out the machinations of his girlfriend's mind.

Maybe it's just been too long, but felt clobbered over the head with weirdness for the sake of weirdness, and, yes, I remember that was David Lynch's trademark and we were a far more naive culture then.

Favorite line: "Those toenails dry yet, sweetheart? We got some dancin' to do." Moral of the story: "Don't turn away from love, Sailor."

Verdict: enjoyed the road trip part of "Wild at Heart." Maybe not as much as my own road trip - I far prefer an admiring trucker, parental humor and thick slices of salty ham - but an appropriately weird way for a non-believer to celebrate a purported return from the dead.

As our hero put it so succinctly, "Rockin' good news." And weird all the way through.

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