Friday, May 20, 2016

Not If You Were the Last Librarian on Earth

It was a night for helplessly hoping, but then aren't they all?

A friend called while I was out, his words barely audible over the Crosby, Stills and Nash box set that's booming in the background. When I return the call, he brings me halfway up to speed on the Nash/Crosby fuel I didn't even know was happening.

Google it, he says, suggesting the 21st century answer to everything.

Walking in to see the 2004 Sundance Festival Documentary Grand Jury Prize winner, the booker looks at me and says, "What're you doing here? I thought I banned you." He's kidding, of course, and we move on to movies that should be shown in public places, with him suggesting "Harold and Maude" and "Being There," two of his favorites

As a fan of strangers and the dark, I assure him I'd attend both.

A friend suggests we meet up and do something fun, something I enjoy. When I tell him I enjoy dancing on a concrete floor for three to four hours watching bands exactly like I did last night but question his interest in doing the same, he comes clean.

"I guess it would depend on the show but, yes, standing 3-4 hours would require me to make a real commitment."

To what, I wonder, having a good time?

"Happy birthday!" a friend messages me. I remind him it's Monday but allow as how he's probably too busy smooching his new squeeze to notice such details.

"I thought I put it in my calendar last year, but no," he writes. "I have missed you this week, even with my new hectic schedule of thinking about her all the time."

I would never find fault with a man who can't stop mooning over his love.

As the film is about to start, a friend tells me his story of seeing "Dig!" in Holland over a decade ago. "We watched part of the movie, then they announced it was intermission and to go get beer." Sounds like a perfectly reasonable request.

"I got curry," he said, still sounding surprised at the idea of intermission curry. "And high."

Well, it was Holland.

The best pre and post-film discussion came from a 29-year old who sat down near me and immediately asked if I'd seen the film before. I hadn't but he had years ago and he was eager to see if his impressions of it had changed since that first viewing.

What struck me about our in-depth conversation on the subject was how much he identified with the '90s ("I'm mildly obsessed with that era"), despite having been born near the end of the '80s (what he referred to as "the plastic era").

"I can't understand how a band like Matchbox 20 were ever big," he mused. None of us could, friend. I have to say, I can't recall the last time a stranger wanted to discuss Sugar Ray, Third Eye Blind and Tonic with me.

More to the heart of the movie, afterwards we discussed whether the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols truly mattered musically. When I got up to leave, another familiar face wanted to chat about the same thing. Was either band talented? On the way out, a third brought it up.

Now that's a provocative film.

Today a friend sent me a birthday present, a t-shirt which reads, "I'm a librarian. That means I live in a crazy fantasy world with unrealistic expectations. Thank you for understanding."

Not that I'm complaining about a gift, but far better if instead of "librarian," it said, "I'm a reader" or even "I'm a Gemini," so the first statement would be as true as the second.

I want to be perfectly clear on my commitment to unrealistic expectations.


  1. Harold and Maude! And again I subscribe to the great Ruth Gordon. "Your hearse?"