Saturday, December 18, 2021

Freak Show

I felt well enough yesterday to go to the movie.  Well enough.  All I would be doing is sitting.  And eating and drinking.  I still felt off, but I would whether I stayed home or not, so I went.  

I met my friend at the patio bar.  The place was packed.  Every chair, every table. It was very, very festive.  I joined my friend who had kept a seat for me.  We still had a few minutes before we could get into the theater, and the bartender was in the weeds, so I didn't bother to order a drink.  I began to tell a series of stories about carnivals to my friend.  "I didn't grow up like the rest of you," I began as if I had been dropped off in a box by a travel trailer door when the circus came to town.  I regaled her about sneaking into the hoot show when I was underage saying that from that point on I knew that sex was evil.  I told her of jumping a fence to sneak into the fair and coming face to face with JoJo the Dogface Boy.  I recalled taking my friend and his stepfather to the fair at midnight of the last day it was open.  Tom's father had been laid off and he knew, somehow, that we could go down and get paid to help break down the rides.  It was a really rough crowd back then and many carried guns on their hips while they worked.  As we worked, the sideshow freaks came out into the midway to play like children.  

"Like the movie "Freaks," she said.  

"Yes, like that, only I hadn't seen the movie then."

I thought myself a real raconteur.  Then she said, "I dated a carnie for awhile."

That's the way it always goes, isn't it.  It's happened many times before.  They let you play amateur hour before they drop the bomb.  

When we went inside and took our seats, it seemed nobody joined us.  Indeed, there couldn't have been twenty people inside when the movie trailers began.  

"Where are all the people?" I asked her.  "Were they just here for the bar?" 

It seemed so.  It was only two o'clock in the afternoon, but the place had been hopping.  It is a good place for drinks, but two o'clock?  Somehow, it seems, I have been missing out on everything.  

Here's my movie review.  The first half of the film is tremendous.  The textures, the colors, the camera work. . . it is all spectacular.  And the carnie cast is marvelous.  The second half of the movie is another movie.  It might seem better if not juxtaposed to the first half, but the movie loses steam when it relocates to the city.  And while Bradley Cooper is a real surprise in the first half of the film, his is almost a minor character.  When he emerges in the film's second part, Cooper can't carry the film.  So, if you go to see it, I'd recommend leaving after the first half and asking me to tell you what happens in the rest of the film.  The movie is two and a half hours long, so you will get your money's worth if you leave after the carnival.  

I had eaten a plate of Supreme Nachos and had a big beer at the theater, so when I got home, I was not really hungry.  Dinner was rather catch as catch can and a whiskey and cheroot on the deck.  Q called.  Then he hung up because he had another call.  Then he called again, but he hung up because he had another call.  That is my relationship with Q now.  I get the drive-time and dog-walking calls. . . as long as nobody else has something to say.  He only wants to tell me of his fortunes and his fabulous vacations now as I sit in pain in poverty on my rotting deck wondering if I should take a walk downtown.  

I probably won't take his calls any more.  

When I finally retreated to the house, I put on "The Lighthouse," because my friend recommended it and because I love Willem Defoe.  But man. . . that film is BLEAK.  Toward the end, I fell asleep.  When I woke up, there were twelve minutes left in the film, but I had no idea how long I had slept, so I turned it off and prepared for bed.  

Now the paranoid waiting to see if I have Omicron.  I'm not kidding.  I am fairly terrified.  I have my fingers crossed.  I would be leaving my mother alone on Christmas and New Year.  Or worse.  I am done with indoor crowds for the season, I think.  My solo life is indeed hollow and routinized, but it is not nearly as horrible as the one illustrated in "The Lighthouse."  No, my life is a comparative dream.  I live in a winter paradise full of sunshine and blue skies (unless climate change ruins that).  I can drink afternoon cocktails in the sun, take long strolls through flowered walkways and watch the millions of herons, storks, and various waterbirds fight for nesting space in the big cypress trees that surround the lakes.  And now, I have popcorn, too!  

If I am just lucky enough to have not caught Covid one more time.  

Oh. . . the photo.  Freakshow Cab, of course.  What else was I going to drink after watching that movie.  Wait. . . have I not told you which one?  Indeed.  It was "Nightmare Alley" (link).  

And here is the song that played over the closing credits.  I just love Hoagey Carmichael.  

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