Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Movies As Mood Enhancer

It was a wintery Sunday. I woke up with my to-do list churning in my head: so much to accomplish! Full speed ahead! Damn the torpedoes, there are action items! No time to be wasted when there are gold stars to be earned!
But the words of His Wiseness Martin Seligman echoed in my head, about how our culture is so consumed with future-mindedness, the rat race, that we are constantly missing out on what is enjoyable in the present moment. This reminded me of one of my personal resolutions (one of many resolutions, future-minded American that I am) to try to do at least one thing a day that is enjoyable or pleasant in the present – to not hoard every single one of the acorns I so conscientiously collect for some future day that never seems to arrive.
So yes, I said to Pirate Redbeard, after prevaricating for longer than I like to admit--yes I will go see The Muppets with you. Who cares about exceeding our paltry entertainment budget? Who cares that my to-do list carries over to the next page? Who cares that I will have to change out of my sweatpants? If I die next week I’ll be glad I took the time out to see a Sunday matinee while I had the chance.
And as it turned out, it must have been meant to be, because the theatre’s computers were down and the manager waved us in for free.
When we left the movie, I felt buoyant and buoyed up. Redbeard said “I needed that.” And we did! We needed that. Because the times, they are dark. Literally, it gets dark at like five o’clock lately. And it’s cold out, and the salad days are over for now, and after the holidays a long dark bleak winter stretches out silently, ominously before us.
And sometimes you just want to escape to a world where little cloth animals are true to their word; where people are honest and sincere and not too jaded to believe in the beauty of their dreams; where you know that goodness and earnestness will win out in the end; where you can forget your problems and goals and ambitions for a little while and snuggle up to some laughter and celebrity cameos; and where it all wraps up nicely with fireworks and a dance number.
I guess what I’m saying is the movie made me feel hopeful, is all. It made me walk back home and look at cold sunshine slapping up against the buildings a little differently. It made me feel inspired, it made me feel like I should sit down and write something and try to contribute, because what movies and art and books and blogs really are is disease vectors: they spread the contagion of ideas, emotions, moods, messages, worlds. Isn’t that awesome? Isn’t that cool? Isn’t that magical? Isn’t that a privilege? 

A privilege. 

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