25 November 2010

Like in the Movies

The frequency of my correspondence with Steve, the old boyfriend from college who contacted me a few months ago after 35 years, has diminished. Now we mostly exchange amusing forwarded video clips and jokes (sidebar question: why are forwarded email jokes always written in oversized font?) from time to time,

and even that has dwindled since I complained the joke he shared about John Hinckley, Jodie Foster and Barack Obama was offensive.

But before we reached this point, while my profile was still active, I took one of those personality analysis tests so popular on FaceBook. Something like "Which movie actress are you?" By that tests measure, I am most like Audrey Hepburn. The results posted to my profile and Steve revealed that he'd always thought of me that way.

My sense of her isn't strongly defined from the handful of her films I've seen. Thin, almost emaciated. Delicate on the surface with a surprising inner strength of character, will and intelligence. Elegant physical presence. Soft spoken. Well bred but not arrogant.

I suppose I see the resemblance.

How did humans see each other before movies were invented? How do lovers in remote villages of the world see each other? Are their perceptions any clearer than ours, unfed by massive media input?

I perceived Steve through a Cat Stevens filter or frame 35 years ago. The resemblance was predominantly physical with the additional similarity of music, specifically guitar playing. The gentleness of Cat Stevens' music corresponded with the quality of my affection for Steve; my love was a secluded mountain meadow where a delicate breeze caressed tall grass in bright, watery sunlight. Quiet. Shimmering. Timeless.

These days my understanding of Love is less influenced by movies and popular song. For one thing, I consume less media now than I did 35 years ago. For another, life experience has revealed the massive discrepancy between the way things go in "real life" and on the giant screen.

I rarely yearn for Love, Like in the Movies but I often wish my real life conversations and interpersonal interactions were more like those in the movies. In the movies, conversations involve long pauses and lots of eye contact. Meaning is communicated through dynamic, changeable volume and pace and timbre of speech. Emotions are expressed.