Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sitting on My Butt

I am always inspired by the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I love the wrinkles in Sean Penn's face when they're on the mountain. I love that his character doesn't always take the picture when he's really in the moment. And I love that Ben Stiller's character gets out of his own way and finally does some things. But I have a couple of problems with the movie.

Walter Mitty would totally have died in the Himalayas at 18,000 feet, crossing glaciers alone while wearing his high school Jansport backpack with his high school sleepover sleeping bag. It annoys me that experience is glossed over as if you don't have to think before you keep going up when your Sherpas refuse to go any further and head back down the trail. I know they weren't making a movie about gaining experience in the wilderness, but it still bugs me.

There's this whole perspective in the movie that you actually have to go somewhere in order to be a complete person. Oh, I'm not saying going somewhere isn't great, but most of the time, I have to be satisfied with my ordinary life. I have to try to find that same kind of magic with the same scenes in front of me every day. That's a little harder than getting on a plane and flying to an exotic location. Try it sometime. Find the magic in the every day. And I did, just a little as I painted on the back deck this afternoon while hummingbirds jetted back and forth past me. It was small magic, but it was magic.

Or maybe I'm just jealous.

And there's that gorgeous scene with the longboard and the incredible hill. At least Walter Mitty had some experience on a skateboard before he did that, but how did he keep from getting into that deadly oscillation that always ends in a faceplant? Once, I decided I wanted to bike down a mountain. Mike drove me to the top and left me there with our bike. Big Sky, Montana. That has a ring doesn't it? It sounds so adventurous, doesn't it? I thought it would be like that longboard scene, graceful, gliding, wind blowing through my hair. I spent most of the time on my bike praying I wouldn't flip over my handlebars. My hands went numb clutching the brakes and I had to come to a walking pace to manage each gravelly switchback. It was a misery, not a graceful, gliding, wind-in-my-hair experience, especially with all that unguardrailed space in front of me. Still, that scene is one of the most thrilling of the movie for the simple distance you can see in it, kind of like what you see on a mountain in Big Sky, Montana. I never completed a skateboarding bucket list and now, since I get injured so easily from falling, I never will. So that scene sort of pisses me off.

But the thing that bugs me the most about that movie is that every single time I'm watching it, every single time, I'm sitting on my butt in front of the television.

Thank you for listening, jb

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