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3:55 a.m. - 2010-08-01
"What is your nationality?" "I'm a drunkard."

Ah, the fabled nuit blanche.

I'm not really a one to drop French phrases into my speech, even typewritten speech, my French is even worse than my singing, but I just now finished watching 'Casablanca' for the umpty-hundredth time. A little French is inevitable. As inevitable as Ilsa getting on that plane.

Was there ever a more quotable, more delicious movie?

Okay, maybe 'The Breakfast Club' runs a close second. However, 'Casablanca' is forever THE quintessential movie. And this from someone who if held at gunpoint would say 'Wizard of Oz' is her favorite film. And so it is, despite Dorothy's penchant for offing witches.

*Tangent alert! In high school we'd sometimes bring bottles of bubble juice to school and fill bubbles with exhaled smoke then chase the swirling opaque bubbles around asking, "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" What can I say? It was the 1970s and everyone had a 'chronic' condition.

Anyhow, 'Casablanca'. If I had scadoodles of money to burn I'd chase down a piece of the set from Rick's Café Americain. There's a few. Sam's Piano survived. I think I'd like one of the light fixtures or one of the carved standing floor screens though, I'd hate the responsibility of owning something as unique and fantabulous as Sam's piano.

Another difference between me and Mick. He's a 'thing' person and I am not. Oh, I am not without my talismanic and sentimental objects, but my 'things' are beat to shit, well loved, well used, and all the better for their dings, dents, and battle scars. Whereas Mick's 'things' are museum quality and pristine. He buys things to keep in their original packaging tucked away in closets or to be displayed under bell jars. My things are Velveteen Rabbits, only becoming real after a whole lot of love has thoroughly worn the new off them.

I know hard loving means sometimes those things get used up, stained, chipped, worn, that it decreases their resale value. Yeah? And? I don't love my things for their Blue Book, I love them because they're mine. Because they've traveled with me, been witness to my journey, been the boon companions during the rough times, the tangible chunks of a life lived out loud. My most precious things wouldn't bring doodly-squat on eBay.

This, I believe, is how it should be.

Mick is a curator. I am a shaman. My things gain power from their use, not from their preservation for a someday auction catalog. I've talked about this before. The carpet on my living room floor is probably worth more than my house. If one were only to count the monetary worth. I love the rug in my living room not because it might fetch a bundle at Sotheby's, but because about 130 years ago a weaver in Iran sat at a loom for the better part of a year making it. Because his signature is in its stripes and arabesques. Because that rug has passed from family to family for over a century and sometimes taken some odd detours as it passed from friend to friend. My rug spent a season on Broadway beneath the table where Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn played their 'Gin Game'. It was the rug my friend, Stephen, and my son, Wolf, learned to walk on. Because it's been on the floor of the last three of my domiciles. Because its navy and peacock blue body and gold and maroon swirls are the anchor for the décor of my most public and welcoming space. I'd no sooner have it cleaned, rolled, and wrapped in plastic than I would dip Wolf in lucite.

What the hell would be the point of owning it if all that rug did was sit sealed up in a vault 'protected' from sunlight, crumbs, dog hair and the occasional peanut butter smear? What good would it do me? What good would it do the rug? Sure, it might survive for another 130 years, but at what cost? Would it warm anyone's feet? Would it glow in the slanting beam that filters in through the apple tree outside my living room window every afternoon? Would it provide the necessary balance to that nutty purple and orange paisley couch and the eclectic art on the walls? Would it do anything except pile up stinking monetary worth if I put it away in a moth-proof coffin and left it on the highest shelf in my cellar?

Right now the only thing I have stored for the future is a pair of Pumas. But someday they'll come out of their box and go on my feet. They'll do their time on the treadmill when my current pair wears out. They're not some weird trophy sneakers to be guarded from use, I got them because when I need them that particular style might not be available anymore and I want to keep on improving my time for the mile run. I bought them to use. End of story.

End of this entry too.


Cueing up another movie and waiting out the dawn, ~LA

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