Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Lost in translation
I watched the movie "Lost In Translation" for the first time Sunday night. It popped up on Netflix and I practically pulled a wrist muscle trying to order it.
I have wanted to watch this movie for almost 10 years. But because it hit theaters during a time when movie-watching was impossible, and because my movie-watching is still almost nil, I never got around to seeing it.
But I knew I would identify with it as soon as I heard about it. And I did. Completely. It's easily one of my all-time favorite movies.
As everyone probably knows, "Lost In Translation" is about two individuals who are very similar but at very different points in their lives. Bill Murray plays a formerly successful actor pitching whiskey in commercials in Japan. Scarlett Johansson plays a recent college graduate and wife of a celebrity photographer, who is working in Japan.
Both are terribly lost, in the country, in their marriages, in their lives. And they meet, desperately bond amid everything they can't relate to, and form an unlikely kinship.
The movie addresses themes that I know instantly. Alienation. Loneliness. Periodic insomnia. The feeling of drifting through life with no true attachment to anything.
Although I am most similar to Murray's character in outward appearance -- male, about the same age, married for about the same amount of time, children, world weary take on my profession -- I identify more with the Johansson character.
Not the beautiful female part, of course. But her personality is a lot like mine. She is content to observe. Lives to observe, in fact. She's a writer, although she doesn't know it yet.
She speaks in a short, clipped, observational way. It's not worth saying unless it's worth saying. She's wry. That's me.
The movie ends in a way so that you know that they both move on with their lives. That being "lost" is mostly temporary -- or at least that's what they hope, without ever saying so.
I am fortunate that I have an immediate family that I can relate to and that keeps me sustained. Because there have been moments in my life -- many times -- when I might as well have been wandering around in Japan.
That even holds true with this blog. I write it in part to stay connected to something. To enjoy a hobby that others enjoy. But I can't write a "look what I got!" blog. If my posts were all "these are my new cards!" the blog would last a week.
My posts need to be wry, observational, worth saying. Like when Johansson's character is scolded by her husband because she mentioned that the ditzy actress' hotel name alias was a man's name. She wasn't being critical, or at least she didn't think she was. She just thought it was funny. And worth pointing out.
Often times, I write things on this blog that mean something -- to me -- that I think are worth pointing out. But the comments left show that people didn't get what I was saying. The point of the post is lost in translation. This used to bother me. It doesn't bother me as much now. Although I do go through stages -- when I'm wandering around in Japan.
If I simply featured cards that I got, that wouldn't happen at all. But that's not how I'm made.
I also feel this way in particular these days about new cards. I haven't really liked anything put out in 2012. It just doesn't work for me. Back in March, I thought Topps Archives would be really fun. But now, I go to the card aisle, and I can't get myself to buy any of it. It leaves me disenchanted. Lost.
There is nothing in the card aisle that I want to buy. And that is very different for me. I ALWAYS can find SOMETHING that I want to try. I've said this many times, and the former me would scold me for thinking this way.
But in a way, this is good. I can focus on the older stuff that definitely interests me, that speaks to me. The 1975 minis, the Lineage minis, my 1977 Topps want list, my 1972 Topps set.
In fact, here are some cards that Don sent me recently:
Tremendously cool. The Les Cain card (#783) is the highest number that I now have in the '72 set.
Hey, what do you know? I just did a "these are some cards I got" post.
But not exactly the latest and greatest either.
Listen, I'm not a misanthrope or a loner. I interact at work, in social and religious settings, at home, with relatives. Much like the Bill Murray character, I've built a successful life and get joy out of it ... periodically.
But there is always this, as they say, "comfortable distance."
Will that distance ever be closed?
I don't know. Sometimes, in some situations, I think it does close.
I doubt it.
Maybe I need to go to Japan.