Thursday, December 1, 2005

More and More Questions

I frequently don't understand people. Oh sure, sometimes I try to humor myself by telling me it's them, not me. That surely they're the less intelligent creatures because I see things in a clear, logical manner and others don't, or take their time getting there, or are just stupid (apparently) and don't get it. But lately I have been feeling more and more like a hand-drawn cartoon with a thought bubble coming out of my head: "I just .... don't get it," because almost every day I interact with someone and am left scratching my head in confusion.

The other day I went to go see Rent with some friends. Even though I never had the desire to see it in the theater, there were three main reasons I was interested in seeing it as a movie. 1.) The PG-13 rating led me to believe that it would be a little tamer than the stage version. 2.) I believe it's important to suport this genre of film so that more musicals will get made into film versions. 3.) I like the story of La Boheme, on which Rent is based.

I needn't have bothered. All three reasons were quickly counteracted by the grim reality of the film. 1.) The MPAA apparently feels it's okay for unaccompanied 13-year olds and guardian-accompanied under- 13-year olds to be exposed to movies about homosexuals, bi-sexuals, AIDS, excessive drug use and a really bad story. 2.) This wasn't a musical, no matter what anyone tells you. It was a rock opera, which is vastly different. Oh sure, there's singing and dancing, but it's not the same. There were no musical themes woven throughout acts, scenes or characters. The songs were forgettable and cheesy. They were performed well, but it still wasn't a musical. 3.) This is not the story of La Boheme. If there were an opera called La Hedonists, then this was based on that. This was the story not of starving artist trying to make their way in the world and establish names for themselves on artistic merit. It was the story of a bunch of friends who played the victim. If they had AIDS, it certainly wasn't because they chose to share heroin needles and have unsafe sex; it was because AIDS was thrust upon them because they were drug addicts and were gay. If they got evicted, it wasn't because they chose to ignore their landlord by not paying rent or getting a job so that they could pay rent; it was because their landlord was The Man and a meanie. Poor starving "artists." Oh, and none of them really were artists. Unless strip dancer at a girlie club counts as art. And unless having long-hair and toting a guitar but having no song-writing ability counts as art. Oh, and the college professor. Yes, there's art right there.

I hated it.

But this isn't about the film. It's about the situation of watching the film. Behind us was a family comprised of a stupid mother, a snoring father, and a 4-year old daughter. Yes, that's right. Four. Years old. At Rent. (Hence the "stupid mother" statement.) Besides all the other head-scratching induced questions of, "Why come to the movie if you're just going to sleep through it?" and "Why leave your cell phone on if it's just going to wake you up?" and "Why not go see a good ENT doctor to get that snore taken care of?", the daughter herself introduced the very good question in her best playground voice of, "Mommy, why are those two boys kissing each other?"

Only to be followed by more excellent question in my two-inch voice of, "'Mommy, why did you bring me to this movie?'"

Fortunately, the hilarity doesn't stop in my personal life. Work provides plenty of perplexing moments also. Today's gem is provided to you by my boss' boss who asked me to "pretty up" a flow chart and put it into Powerpoint. I did so and presented him with an electronic draft version. His response to my email: "Thanks. I'll socialize it with Joe (his boss) to get his perspective."

Huh? Does he realize this is an inanimate object? It can't really socialize. Not even a little bit. Does it have good manners? Does it require etiquette lessons? Will it be polite? I feel a bit protective of it, sending it out to the big harsh world of socialization. I hope it behaves itself.

At least it doesn't have to go see an awful movie with its parents. I'll protect it from that.

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