Thursday, June 24, 2010
WEEKEND (1967, FRANCE) & TWO OR THREE THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER (1967, FRANCE)
DOLLAR GENERAL: A CHICKASAW LOVE STORY
MY HOUSE 6:52
I looked at my black television screen after my viewing of Jean Luc-Godard’s Weekend.
How was I supposed to react? How was I supposed to feel? I barely knew who I was.
The only thing I knew was that I was hungry. Hungry for Mayfield Neapolitan Ice Cream.
Hunger was the one thing I knew I could deal with on a rational level.
Dollar General. I had never been to the new Chickasaw Dollar General up the road.
It was time to change that.
I got into my car and drove slowly. I rolled down my window on the way looking for accidents.
No bodies lying on the side of the road. No burning wreckage on the side of the road.
Part of me was disappointed at how uneventful my forty-five second drive to Dollar General was.
At the store, I was overwhelmed by the sheer capitalism.
Tide. Twix. Quaker State. Wrangler Jeans.
How should I allow myself to be brainwashed and subsequently how should I act the rest of the day? Oh, that’s right. I remember now. Mayfield Ice Cream. Mayfield Neapolitan Ice Cream.
I went to the frozen food and reviewed my choices.
Mayfield Chocolate. Mayfield Vanilla. Mayfield Neapolitan.
One box left.
I reached in and touched the ice cream at the same time as another person. I hadn’t seen her. She withdrew at the same time I did.
“Oh, I’m sorry you can have it,” she said to me.
I wouldn’t call her pretty exactly, but she had very long hair and her teeth all appeared to be intact. Of course, I wasn’t sure what the definition of pretty was at that moment and why was I thinking that anyway?
“We can share the ice cream. I’ve got two bowls.” It wasn’t a great pickup line, but I wasn’t trying to pick her up. I was sincere. I really did have two bowls.
We talked. I’m sometimes awkward in these circumstances, but a couple of helpings of Godard will loosen you up quicker than a bottle of TJ Swann.
“Do you live in Chickasaw?” she said.
“Where else would I live?” I said.
“I work over at the Whataburger next door,” she said.
“Oh, did you drive here without accident?” I asked.
She looked a little confused at some of my responses, but not enough to deter her from coming home with me to share my ice cream.
“My name is M…” she said.
“My name…my name is Laszlo Kovacs.” I didn’t want to use my real name.
“When I saw you come in I thought you might be married, Lasslo,” she said.
I didn’t understand the relevance of her inquiry. I asked her if she thought that marriage was a bourgeoisie concept. She laughed nervously and didn’t pursue this line of questioning further. I’m not sure if she understood what bourgeosie meant.
I went to the checkout and a pleasant looking dark skinned lady with long purple fingernails took my ice cream.
“Are you in a film or in reality?” I asked the dark skinned lady.
“That will be 4.99,“ she told me.
I guess she didn’t hear my question.
Neither did my longhaired companion. Either that or she was too worried about making sure that her hair was sufficiently fluffy to have heard me.
On the way home, I saw a man on the side of the road. He appeared to be putting motor oil into his car. I elbowed M… and pointed at the man, but she didn’t seem to know why I was so affected.
MY HOUSE 7:52
M… looked unsure of herself as she sat on the sofa next to me.
“I want you to know I don’t normally do this,” she said.
I laughed. I wasn’t sure why I was laughing.
“Would you like a cigarette?” I asked.
“I would love one,” she replied.
I nodded slightly and looked forward.
Her look conveyed expectation.
“I don’t smoke. I was just wondering if you wanted one.” I said.
“Oh,” she said.
She seemed disappointed and confused.
I was tongue tied before I saw her running her fingers through her long hair.
I smiled at her and she returned the smile.
“I’ve been letting it grow out. I like that it has so much body. Do you like long hair?” she asked.
I sensed that she was searching for a compliment.
“Your hair looks positively Chekhovian,” I said.
It didn’t appear this was the response she was looking for. Once again her face showed disappointment and confusion.
I excused myself to go into the kitchen before returning with two full bowls of ice cream.
Two spoons as well.
I started to place her bowl on the floor in front of her, but sensed she would be more appreciative if I handed it to her.
“Neapolitan,” I said. “Originated in Italy. Though most good ideas come from France. Not all of course, like Neapolitan Ice Cream. Three flavors… One bowl. Oh that reminds me.”
I went back into the kitchen and brought back to her a large of French bread.
“Boy, this feels really hard,” I said as I felt it.
She appeared to be blushing, but I wasn’t sure why.
Perhaps I was talking too much. It was time to make my move.
First, I asked her if she had read Faulkner’s The Wild Palms, but she told me she hadn’t.
I cleared my throat. “I want you to watch a film with me.” I said.
“Oh, I get it. I’ve seen movies like…that before. I’m an adventuresome gal.”
She inched a little closer to me.
“This is called 2 or 3 Things I Know About You."
Still no response.
Her face brightened when a moment of recognition appeared to set in.
“I’ve seen 10 Things I Hate About You. Is it like that?”
“No, M… This is French.”
“Oh, French. My goodness.”
This appeared to impress her.
After I put the movie in and sat down, she put her hand on my knee.
I turned on the film via remote control.
MY HOUSE 8:52
I noticed her eyes were wide open as she stared at the film. She hadn’t commented or reacted. I was worried she wasn’t impressed.
I pointed my finger up in the air to her indicating I needed to use the restroom. I shut the door half way and stared into the mirror.
I whispered to myself. She hasn’t commented or reacted to this film. I worry that she is not impressed.
“Who the hell are you talking to?” She asked from the other room. She appeared angry.
I guess my soliloquy was too loud.
“No one.” I replied.
I came back out and sat next to her. She inched away from me and didn’t say another word for the remainder of the film.
After the final fade out of consumer items resting in the field turn into FIN, I got up and turned the television off by hand.
I turned to make a comment, but before I could say anything, I felt the French bread crack against my skull.
I plummeted to the ground. She tore aprart the French Bread into smaller pieces and threw them at my head.
Then the yelling started. “What the hell did you just make me watch, Lasslo? I think I know what you are! I’ve heard about you people. You’re a Socialiss aren’t you? I don’t want to be with no Socialiss! I’m glad I didn’t let you do anything to me.”
By the time she had finished yelling, crumbs of French bread encircled me as I heard the door close behind her. I closed my eyes to fall asleep to hopefully forget about all the injustices in the world and dream only about what items I might need to purchase the following day.
When I awoke, I decided to lay off the Godard films for awhile.