Saturday, May 31, 2008

The 40-Year-Old Verge

I braved the throngs of sundress-wearing, huge bag-toting girls in their 20s at the movie theater yesterday to catch the 3:15 screening of the Sex and the City movie. I've never seen such a homogeneous crowd at one movie.

Of course, Edith and I claim that we're nothing like those other girls, but we were there, weren't we?

I haven't always been a fan. Having never paid for HBO at home, I'd only caught episodes of SATC on business trips, and I was always annoyed by Carrie's "And I began to wonder..." voiceovers, which is basically the same reason I hate Gossip Girl. But once it went into syndication and I could catch it every night on the CW or TBS before bed, I became addicted. The characters are so flawed. In fact, the media coverage of the show is totally different than the heart of the show. It's not about fashion! It's about digging cigarettes out of the gutter, farting in bed, and falling on your face.

The movie version stays true to that, maybe even more so. You feel the self-consciousness of Carrie, the 40-year-old bride. You see the age on her face, the bags under her eyes. In fact, all four of them age only as gracefully as one can in New York (or, in Samantha's case, under the magnifying glass of LA). The only one who seems happy and trouble-free is also the one who looks the youngest (Kristin Davis' slapstick charicature Charlotte).

The other night, Eric mentioned something about how Sex and the City is basically turning into The Golden Girls, and he's not too far off. But how is it that at age 40 and 50, things aren't nearly any easier? How is it after 20 or 30 years of practice, these women still can't get it right? And for me, feeling like I'm already on the verge of 40, what can there possibly be for me to look forward to?

I project myself too much into movies. I guess that's what makes me a good moviegoer (at least for the studios that need my $11.75). But I spent pretty much the last half of the movie, which was probably a half hour too long, on the verge of tears.

Orange BlossomAfter the movie, I was all alone, with no plans for another couple of hours, so I decided to take advantage of the early hour and get myself a seat at the Gramercy Tavern bar. I was hoping the Orange Blossom cocktail - made with sparkling Gruner Veltliner, bitters, sugar and an orange peel - would make me feel better, but I downed it too quickly and followed it with a glass of lambrusco and a glass of Pinot Noir sparkling rose. I just kept feeling worse, even while eating delicious roasted cauliflower (with almonds and raisins) and chicken liver mousse on buttery toast.

chicken liver mousseI bailed on my later plans in favor of stumbling home and going to bed at 7:30 p.m. (missing the stunning Manhattanhenge sundown which has made its way into my photo blog in the past). I figured I might wake up on my own around 11 or 12 and would send myself back out into the city, or I might sleep through the night, but either way, at that moment, I could not deal.

I ended up sleeping through the night, getting 13 hours of supposed rest that was filled with dreams of my sister and my mom, something about wanting to go to the beach and some overlying theme of Moby Dick. I woke up exhausted and still depressed. Of course, nothing had actually changed about my life in those 13 hours - only the chicken liver no longer filled my stomach and the wine had worked its way through my own liver.

And as I lie in bed, eyes closed to avoid the clock, I began to wonder: can you actually find love, or do you have to build it, buy it, design it or just let it find you?