Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Me and my girl


After taking her to the daycare, I lingered a bit. And took this picture of us. Is she not a spitting image of me? No, I don't think so either. "She looks like her mother, luckily", is what I ususally tell people, and they will smile and chuckle. But actually, she just looks like herself. More and more each day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Home—for now


In response to repeated pleadings of some the more vocal part of you readers, here is a picture of my fast-growing girl. She is sitting in the driveway in front of our temporary home. She does seem to like living here, although this morning she got more frightened than I have ever seen her before. Right in that spot where this picture was taken.

She saw a clown. A real-life one. He came jogging joyfully towards her, waving a small, purple duster. My daughter reacted as if he was lunging at her with a sword. She arched her self as far back as she could in my arms, and let out this primeval scream that chilled me to the bone. And stopped the poor clown dead in his tracks. I couldn't really see that well through his heavy make-up, but he was visibly shaken. He stood there for a brief moment, and the sadness flowed into his eyes.

And then he slowly walked into the house.

Monday, May 9, 2005


Speaking of affairs, last night I saw The original film adaptation of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair. I have to way that I do not care for Van Johnson that much. Didn't like him in The Caine Mutiny. Didn't like him here. He is such an archetypical worried-look-on-his-face-in-a-trenchcoat-in-the-rain-in-a-black-and-white-movie kind of actor, that his acting does not ring true. It's hollow, somehow. Too predictable.

Deborah Kerr, however...

I could watch her in anything, I guess. She is just so, ephemeral. Somehow. So intangible. You never quite know where you have her. But yet so real. Down to Earth. Totally believable. Here, she is playing the adulterous wife. In a film made in 1955. Doesn't get much more taboo than that. And does she come off as an evil, two-dimensional character? Someone who doesn't evoke the least bit of compassion? No, absolutely not. You feel for her right from the start. In a way. She manages to make it all so real: The vulnerability for what happens; the torment over that it is wrong in all respects; how she still can't help giving in to her emotions; the guilt; the passion; the hope. All of it. This is one of those gifted actresses who shows you so much, mainly by doing so little. It is that understated performance which saves this otherwise unremarkable adaptation. Well, that and Peter Cushing's neat and proper little British civil servant. I wonder what it must have been like to grow up in a time and country where most people acted that way. Every day. Makes the average present day social interaction seem almost barbaric.

I look forward to my next batch of Netflix movies. In it, there is a 1999 adaptation of the same book. With Ralph Fiennes. And Julianne Moore. And that guy from the Crying Game that looks a bit like Geoffrey Rush.

1955 and 1999. A world apart.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

To fight with your friend

Sharing without reserve is perhaps the sign of a true friendship. When you feel real emotions for someone, his opinions and ideas, and you stop holding these feelings back for the sake of courtesy or because you do not feel you know that someone well enough. When you don't just laugh and cry with that person, but you share the whole spectrum of feelings, in earnest. Perhaps then you really know.

I got into a fight today. Not a physical one, and not a serious one. But an important one. My friend and I were fighting over something quite trivial, something that can probably be put down to a difference in taste. But what I think actually happened was that after a few years of getting to know me, and listening to my incessant insistence that my taste in this particular matter had more merit to it, my friend finally let go a little and pointed out the arrogance of such behavior. He said he was frankly tired of it. Which is really quite understandable. But it was not clear to me until we had fought over it. And I had had a little time to realize that he was right.

This is how this little tussle made me realize that I have a friend in this man. A real one. And here is how I know that I return the favor, that I truly am a friend of his: I felt I could not let it sit that way. It wasn't like an angry exchange of words you have with a stranger, which you can just shrug off. No. I needed to put it right. Set it straight. I needed us to be okay again. So after he had gone, I went after him. And he graciously gave me his time. Let down his defenses. Listened. And allowed me to repair the damage. Well, it was more like a little dent, really. A fender-bender is probably the appropriate term. But he let me make a fuss and thus feel better about the affair.

Which I guess is what friends will do for each other.