I've been thinking a lot about comfort. This past week, a close friend unexpectedly lost a parent. This is a first for me--in some ways, it's kind of a miracle I've made thirty years without witnessing it yet. I don't want to make this all about me, but it's affected me. A lot.
It's never easy to watch a loved one grieve. To know that they're dealing with such a devastating life change. To realize that you most likely will bury your parents, and that day may come sooner rather than later. That your friends, too, won't be around forever.
Life as you know it, is fleeting.
Though I'm about to enter the most intense workweek of the year, I decided on Friday to visit my parents. It would involve several hours of travel in the span of about forty-eight hours, but . . . I just needed to see them.
On the train home, I tried not to think about work. I didn't stress. I took a nap, wrote some notes for my NaNo project, listened to a mix I made for Bob, revisited a really good book, thought about the amazing ballet performance I'd seen the night before. I tried my damndest to surround myself with the little things that make life comforting.
And then I went to a Katherine Heigl movie.
Let me explain. I don't have the vitriol for ole KH the way some bloggers do. Yes, I think she shouldn't bite the hand that feeds her quite so much, and if she's so concerned about making female-empowerment films, why the hell did she back and star in The Ugly Truth? However, I don't actively seek out her movies that don't involve Judd Apatow or making fun of bridesmaid dresses.
But the movie selection in my parents' town is considerably more limited than Chicago. Mom had already agreed to see a movie with a coworker. And quite frankly, even if I'd been in my home city last night, I didn't feel like watching anything dark and depressing, no matter how cool it would make me sound on Monday.
This is how I ended up at LIfe As We Know It.
Sure, the plot's predictable: schubby dude meets woman with stick up her ass. They hate each other on sight, but are forced to get along when their recently departed friends' will stipulates that they not only raise departed friends' baby, but live in departed friends' house (all of this done without departed friends discussing this with schubby dude and stick-up-her-ass lady before their untimely death). "Life as we know it" changes forever, montages ensue, wacky neighbors come out of the woodwork, and arguments become kisses become airport runs (just when I think screenwriters have finally discarded the airport run, here we go again).
And yet . . . I enjoyed it.
Not just because I coveted Christina Hendricks' purple ruffled cardigan. (And her hair. And her lips. And just . . . can I look like her in my next life? I promise not to flip off crazy drivers anymore).
Because it was comforting.
Because sometimes you just need to sit in the dark, passing the popcorn bag in between your parents, and listen to your sister tell you that Josh Duhamel was upset that the poster features a shot of him in tighty-whities, even though there are FULL FRONTAL pictures from his modeling days that you can find online. (My family: always good for the odd movie tidbit or obscure John Hughes quote.) Because babies are cute and the pop music score is fun to listen to. Because Katherine Heigl wears pretty outfits.
Because as much as I lament the decline of the movie industry and the fact that yet another remake of an 80's series has been greenlighted when a movie about Allen Ginsburg only came out in like five cities, sometimes I just need to dive headfirst into a predictable romcom.
Life As We Know It will never make it into my top ten. Katherine Heigl can be annoying. Apparently, Josh Duhamel is a pantsless hypocrite. And I don't want babies, inherited or otherwise.
But on a Saturday night after a rough, sad week, it was exactly what I needed.
And speaking of fluffly treacle, here's my favorite duet from last week's Glee: