The pup and I did what most single girls do on the last night of their work week: We watched an On Demand movie, and on this night it was “No Reservations.”
I was prepared to gag at the trying-to-portray-frantic restaurant kitchen scenes, to scoff at the bucolic shots of seemingly tasty family meals, to groan at the predictable happy-ending-but-not-before-it’s-sad story line. I did do all of those things, but only to a certain extent. Because the movie seemed to reign it in just shy of being stupid. Stupid loomed, absolutely, but so did a certain truth that kept the stupid from being too stupid.
Movie: A fine-dining kitchen is a fun scene to behold; it is clean and bright and almost calm when the rush hits.
What I Have Lived: Um, sure. Okay, no.
Movie: A certain camaraderie exists between the staff, even when they inherently despise each other.
What I Have Lived: Yup. Really. A fine line, for sure.
Movie: Chefs are so cool and drop-dead handsome and so romantic.
What I Have Lived: Sure, except they are 25 years old, or they are older and married. Or coked out. Or drunk 20 out of 24 hours. I know, I know, stop with the stereotypes.
Movie: Apartments are huge and perfectly decorated and filled with windows with exposures in every direction.
What I Have Lived: I look out on other apartments out back. I look out on my pool out front. Given I am in SoFla and not in NYC, I have an incredible view from one exposure. Decorated? You mean mostly unpacked, right?
As the movie went on, I found myself unmoved during the so-called sad parts and sobbing at the happy romance scenes. Which made me want to slap myself to get a grip, but also allowed me to forget getting the grip and to remember and wonder about so many times before that seem to have converged here.
I used to run six miles or so most mornings. I used to smoke two packs a day, but that was way before I ever ran one mile, much less six. Running and smoking, here we have two re-visits, a couple of do-overs. Please. No one get crazy here. I am not a smoker these days, any more than I am a ‘real” runner. But I dabble in both for different reasons, at different times.
Just like I dabble in watching “On Demand” movies now that the boy I was recently seeing no longer feels a need to see me. Now that the dog I adopted seems content to ‘dance’ with me on my nights off and can’t understand why I can’t dance for four hours straight. Now that I have been deemed “too sweet and wholesome” to be called again by the TV star, the star with whom I accepted a cigarette and a couple of great kisses and declined everything else.
As much as this journey of aloneness and independence mostly sucks, it is sometimes just as cool as the movies depict, just as my friends and even some of my readers hope it is.
–“I would give anything for my own apartment. My own place. My own space,” says one.
–“Oh, to not have to worry about dinner for anyone other than for me,” says another.
–“To just be alone, to read, to do whatever I wanted to do,” comments one more.
–“To go out and meet new people and feel the thrill of a new romance again,” remarks another.
Oh, I know these sentiments well. I have even felt them, now and then. But more now than then, this is my now:
–My own space and apartment is mine all mine, and I love that. But it is fraught with repair issues that never get answered by my stupid landlord. And it has a perpetual need to be cleaned in order to prevent the Florida vermin from deciding this adorable apartment is a great place to camp. And I won’t lie, some nights, it can feel very large and lonesome in this adorable place.
–As for worrying about dinner, Mr. Restaurant Gal is a cook extraordinaire, so back in D.C., I never worried about dinner so much as I worried about how much oil or butter he was dumping into one of his really great-tasting dishes. Here, however, dinner is usually a mirror image of breakfast–eggs and tortillas or chips and dip. And I was okay with that, because I didn’t have to care for anyone beyond myself. Until this week, when I decided to cook for what passes as cooking for me. The aforementioned healthy soup spread its warmth for three days. Tonight, corn pasta cooked in chicken broth, topped with tomatoes, garlic, spinach and cheese was a treat for dinner. So, I guess I am cooking whatever I want. I just never knew that I wanted to cook anything.
–Alone is so good, until it turns to lonely, and it usually does. Sorry, it does. I don’t read because I am too tired or I am writing or I just don’t feel like reading, which falls under the doing ‘what I want to do’ category. Just remember, the thrill is quickly gone when you can do anything and everything you want to do. Because suddenly, you have no direction.
–New people, really good. Thrill of new romance, so fun. Ultimately, however, the new people become known too well and new romance fizzles. Not to be a downer or anything.
In the movie, it all turns out okay.
In my life as I lived it today, I ran farther than I have ever run. And I wondered, when will it be far enough? When will I know that I am supposed to be here and not there? When will I get it that I am okay in my job, even when my GM curses the business I bring him? When will I get it that I am okay as romance ebbs and flows? When will I get it that budding friendship comes at you from such unexpected corners of your life, and then know when to accept it?
Today, I could have run many miles more. Today, I never wanted to stop running. It wouldn’t have made any difference, however. It wouldn’t have been far enough. It never is. That only happens in the movies.