Trying to be zen

I’m dreading Mom’s visit next month, but she’s who she is. I love her. We’ll make the best of it. Had a nightmare about it last night, which actually puts my mind more at ease — however bad it goes, it won’t be as bad as the nightmare.

Look, the Mom part of the visit is going to be a disaster. She'll say and do whatever it takes to slice me apart, because that's what she does. I'm trying to be zen about it.

On the bright side, my sister is pretty cool, and we always got along well. I think I met her boyfriend once, if he's the same guy she was dating in the late '80s, and I didn't want to strangle him. Her daughter has always been a sweet kid. All four of them are coming, and my stoner nephew George isn't, so just by the numbers, I'm at least half looking forward to their visit.

♦ ♦ ♦

I had wanted to see Dr Strangelove and The Manchurian Candidate at the Elmwood in Berkeley, but they’ve eliminated their early shows, which makes it impossible.

Maybe I’d reluctantly pay full price to see a double feature that starts at 7:00, but checking the running times in my movie reference book, tonight’s second feature would end at about 11:30, maybe 11:45. It’s a twenty minute bus ride to BART, which shuts down at around midnight, but what if the bus is running late, or the theater shows more previews than time allows? Movies at the Elmwood could mean a night in a Berkeley hotel, so adios, Elmwood, and instead I took the subway to the Castro, for an Alan Rudolph double feature. 

Not certain it’s supposed to be a comedy, but Choose Me (1984) is a hoot. Lesley Ann Warren is an ex-hooker who now fucks for free, but never with the man she wants. Keith Carradine is a wry quipping loner, and he’s the man she wants. Rae Dawn Chong is a toothy dame who writes poetry so bad it belongs in a zine. Genevieve Bujold is a friendless and loveless shrink who spews feel-good advice on a radio talk show. Rudolph stirs these characters together like vegetable stew, treating everything seriously, but I laughed a lot and hope that was the intent.

Though it’s only ten years old, Choose Me reminded me more of the 1970s, because the menfolk often seemed to be posing for the sheer joy of looking manly, as was the fashion — never really, but in movies. And it’s too bad about Lesley Ann Warren. I always confuse her with Susan Sarandon; they look similar, play similar roles, but Sarandon is a much bigger star and makes much bigger movies. 

Remember My Name (1978) is a great entry in the hell-hath-no-fury genre. Geraldine Chaplin is determined to make life miserable for Anthony Perkins, and she’s so good at it you can’t help rooting for her. Again, I hope that was Mr Rudolph’s intent. It’s a sly, spooky story that seemed vaguely familiar, and I suspect it was the inspiration or uncredited source material for Fatal Attraction.

♦ ♦ ♦

Waiting for the #8 bus home, a woman on a bike rolled up to the bus stop and said, “Hi, Doug!” She used to be my boss, when I did phone surveys a few years back, and she was always one of those happy-go-smiley sorts, always in a good mood, always outgoing and friendly. It's the third, maybe fourth time she's spotted me on the street since that job, like tonight, and it’s always the same. She’s glad to see me, I guess I’m glad to see her, I wave and say hey, and she’s all, Doug this and Doug that, and I try to be sociable too, but I don’t remember her name and never will.

From Pathetic Life #8
Saturday, January 14, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Pathetic Life 

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