Sunday, March 16, 2008

people are people no matter how small

I adore going to the movies. When J and I have an infrequent night to ourselves we invariably find ourselves going to a film. So it was with great excitement that we decided it was time to introduce M to our favorite escape, after proving her mettle in a couple of long distance sitting accomplishments lately that perhaps, oh the joyous thought perhaps, she'd be ready to sit through a movie.

And we were almost right. We took her to see Horton Hears a Who, a double bonus for me because Dr. Seuss far and away kicks the shit out of Disney. We took her to one of the newer theaters with all the bells and whistles on purpose because we wanted to watch her face light up.

It did not disappoint. The bright lights, the cavernous room and enormous seats and the screen, the movie is so BIG, mama, so BIG in hushed whispers with shining eyes. We'd smuggled in a snack and she sat like the princess she pictures herself to be, regal and quiet until she became unruly and louder. And hey, the movie was really terrific too.

We went home and a little later in the evening I got a call from work and learned there was something I needed to attend to so I headed over to the shelter, the day had become night and smelled like rain. I walk in and was taken slightly aback as always at the amount of people huddled on the floor. It's still early but many folks are lying down, belongings stashed underneath them and borrowed blankets on top. One guy was fast asleep with his legs poking out and shoes still on. One guy came up to me limping. It's gonna rain, he says. I know it because all the metal in my leg acts up and I can barely walk. Rain's coming, he says and limps away.

And midway down the enormous room sat about 25 guys on hard wooden benches staring at a 20" TV screen. I pause for a minute and one turns to greet me and I think it was an old Bruce Willis film but I can't be sure. They are transfixed, all bodies leaning slightly forward and all eyes fixed on the screen. There's no popcorn and the lights are bright but it's movie night here, too. The irony strikes twice and I leave the cold into the colder, heading back to the warm.

23 comments:

Blog Antagonist said...

What a stark contrast. It must be hard for you to see such want every day. Do you ever feel guilty for having things? I think I would. That doesn't make much sense does it?

Family Adventure said...

Such extremes just within a few hours. I would find that hard to take, too.

Heidi

Bungi said...

It is surprising how these contradictions co-exist... And we just learn to live with it... And i suppose there is hope as long as we are willing to acknowledge that there is disparity and not shut our eyes to it...

This reminded me of a similar contrast i wrote about many months ago... It's not as poignant as this post, but you can look at it if you wish to. http://bungz.blogspot.com/2007/07/blog-post.html

mamatulip said...

From one end of the spectrum to the other.

Wow.

Kelly said...

Yes...from relative privilege to none at all. What a snapshot, Jen.

Amanda said...

Oh, Jen, I've been away too long. This was amazing.

flutter said...

You are phenomenal at light and dark, you know that? I know it's totally not the point, but I am just mesmerized with the structure of your writing these days. The texture.

Really, jen.

Her Grace said...

Horton is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss's for exactly this reason. A person is a person, no matter what.

Oprah had Jim Carey on the other day, and she kept going on and on about how "deep" Seuss was and she never realized it. I was surprised. Even as a kid, I could hear the messages he was trying to get through.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Dr. Seuss was the master, and as my kids and husband sat watching this weekend I couldn't help but think of what might have inspired him - religion, politics, people like those you serve on a daily basis.

And you? You're faithful. 100 percent.

furiousBall said...

that's nearly the landspeed record for running the gamut, but i contend my bipolar ex has that one record sewn up for good

liv said...

you know, after reading the range of comments here, i'm totally blank. no, that's no excuse. i've been blank for days.

so glad you got to go to the movies. and that it was fun with a child. that's money.

Lisa b said...

Movie night. It is happy and sad all at the same time.

The Expatriate Chef said...

You know, your blog was open in a tab in Firefox just as you left me a comment on mine. I come here often because you write so well, you have so much to say, and because you make me believe in a better world.

Gwen said...

Dr. Seuss *is* the shizzit. Or whatever the youth are saying these days.

Warm-cold-warm-cold-warm: you are making more warmth for everyone, jen.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

oh jen, thanks. thanks so much. Can't believe I missed your Just Posts posting!

nomotherearth said...

Lovely post - it made me think in technicolour - likr going from Kansas to Oz and back again. (Does that only make sense to me?)

crazymumma said...

I sorta like and scuse me while I go out on a limb here, that you, like Horton are mothering something that is not yours. Not yours by blood and by that I mean those at the shelter.

I love Horton Hears a Who. I have read that story to my girls I do not know how many times.

Susanne said...

That seems to have been a magical day.

We have yet to take our son to the movies (he's 5) because he doesn't handle suspense well. I could not have him watch a Disney movie. Fir now he settles down with the same two or three films on VD over and over again, and those are scary enough for him.

Susanne said...

On DVD, I meant. Not VD. Tsk.

Janet said...

A study of contrasts. Beautiful post.

Ally said...

Wow. Just wow.

Amy Y said...

Wow... what a difference a couple hours make.
I love and hate the picture you paint here.

It was a great movie though, huh? we took the boys over the weekend, too.

bgirl said...

the harsh reality of your job, this world, well, i can only imagine the sting. and yet, when i read your posts, i often am left thinking not just how lucky the folks that fall into your path are, but how fortunate you are as well. a daily dose of gratitude.