Friday, January 28, 2011

Sweet Nothings

I've enjoyed reading Nora Ephron's book I Remember Nothing. Many of these essays were printed in other magazines, but some are new. They are funny because they invariably strike a nerve. She may be a decade older than I, but her thoughts and opinions ring true.

Take her stance on going to the movies, which I recently lamented when I wrote about True Grit: Nora - Instead of how romantic theaters used to be, we now go to horrible unadorned gray rectangles where the sound bleeds in from the gray rectangle right next door. It's sad. How true. She goes on to mention how most projectionists today are just teens and don't seem to know their stuff, as evidenced by the movies that end up out of focus and out of sync to the sound -- until finally somebody in the audience has to go out and track down an employee who looks at you blankly and you end up missing a chunk of the film regardless of whether or not it gets fixed.

Or this: things you once had that you are finally old enough to appreciate, you no longer have anymore - usually a casualty of a move or divorce -- when you leave behind all sorts of things you don't have the sense to know you'll someday wonder about or wish you had, (my biggest was an expensive office chair), or, worst of all, feel nostalgic for (a gorgeous watercolor I had before marriage). And Waterford.

And especially, this is my life: Running into someone who seems to know me -- maybe I don't catch the name because the party or whatever is loud. I decide to assume we have met before and not say 'Nice to meet you,' because invariably the person will say we've met in an aggrieved tone. So I say, 'Nice to see you,' with a big smile and hope against hope they'll throw out their name, which, of course, they never do. About that time Excy will wander up and I won't be able to introduce him and I give him my panicked secret look for help, which, of course, he never recognizes, and when he doesn't pick up on my secret plea for introduce yourself so this person will tell us their name (despite the fact he was coached in the car on the way to the function to be on the alert for such pitfalls), I'm stuck there like the boob I am. When the person finally realizes the mind-fart and archly gives their name -- glancing at me sideways as they do to register my discomfort -- I realize 10 minutes later I've forgotten it already.

Finally, she identifies a few symptoms of 'OLD AGE' all of which I realize -- aside from the physical -- even though 52 doesn't seem quite like old age to me...I guess I am on the slippery slope.

1) repeating a story (though I usually catch myself I can see the writing on the wall for this one). BORING.
2) walking into a room and suddenly realizing I have NO idea why I am there. Thirty seconds of standing shock-still usually is enough to resurrect the thought...
3) not getting the joke -- though I pretend to...
4) watching a movie and realizing I've seen it before -- yet it's as if I have never seen it, for the most part. Particularly irritating is when Excy quotes some line from it -- not some memorable one, either, like 'here's looking at you, kid,' 'frankly, m'dear, I don't give a damn,' or 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore' from the popular does he remember??
5) when a friend (or mom) quotes me -- and I have no memory of having said it.
6) aging out of People - who are these people? And why are there so many 'b' and 'c' grade celebrities? What are they famous for?
Like Ephron, I have not yet reached the nadir of OLD AGE, which she calls 'The Land of the Anecdote,' But I'm getting there. On a bullet train.

Good lord. The problem with remembering nothing when you don't have a medical excuse is that you know you remember nothing.


ReformingGeek said...

I'm definitely out of the mainstream on jokes. I don't know much about the current celebrities or many of the current movies.

Yeah, when you are young, you certainly don't appreciate some things but we get older and our tastes change and now we get it!

I hate it when someone remembers me and I don't remember them, not just their name but THEM. I feel about 2 inches tall when this happens.

e said...

Wow...If that is what happens in the fifties and later, no wonder aging is dreaded. I believe that our heads today are crammed full of information, contributing to the "forgetful state" we sometimes get into...As for putting names with faces, humour helps, as in:

You know, I know we've met before, but I'm having a bit of a senior moment and can't recall where exactly...That has saved me more than once.

I agree with Nora regarding theatres fun at all, and for nine to ten dollars, I can prepare a nice meal and enjoy a film from home.

Cid said...

You are so right about reading People magazine. Who are those people and what on earth have they done to merit so much attention?

Arkansas Patti said...

Wait till you look at a casual acquaintance and exclaim "I haven't seen you in ages," when actually you saw them a week or so ago. They just aren't who you first think they are. Oh yes, it gets more complicated, just know every one else your age is in the same boat, they just may not admit it.

marciamayo said...

So true, so true. I heard Ephron on public radio a couple of weeks ago and she told about how old people go around snapping their fingers while trying to remember a name or a word and how great google is for coming up with the answer. I'm completely there.

Retired English Teacher said...

I can relate! I also love her book and found that I also could relate all too well with what she was saying.

Chris said...

I have all the symptoms. And I'm older than you!

Stephanie Faris said...

I've been doing a lot of the "old people" stuff for a long time. I've found usually it's because I'm trying to do too much.

Beth - In My World... said...

I adore Nora Ephron and look forward to reading her book. I am 41 years old and can lay claim to all you list herein! Yikes! For a self-proclaimed movie buff, it does seem sad that many of the movies being made have zero redeeming value; so few are destined to become classics. What I find even more disheartening is armed with the knowledge there is no plot or valid entertainment value, the studios make it 3D and charge an arm and a leg to see it. Save for perhaps "Avatar" (which I have not seen but have heard is amazing) I am pressed to find any 3D movie not falling under this description.

As for the young ones gracing the cover of People, sadly it seems they to are a dime a dozen. Who can even tell them apart? Not me...and I will be curious in 15 years to see where they are. Wonderful post - thank you for sharing!

Sarah @ Life as a Movie said...

I feel old when I have to ask my 13 or 11 year old do something for me, as simple as it may seem to them.

Tam said...

Too funny! What a great post....and so true! The last time I flew on an airplane, I went into the bookstore to get my People magazine - tradition for me when flying. I stood there staring at it blankly and finally bought the latest edition of More!! I LOVED your last line...that's a classic quote!

Traci said...

I'm in trouble, I already don't remember nothing.

I Will remember, I have to check out Nora Ephron.
I Will remember, I have to check out Nora Ephron.
I Will remember, I have to check out Nora Ephron.
I Will remember I have to check out Nora Ephron.