When the foundation of your house crumbles and collapses:
How can you be sure which movie you’re in?
With an image like that, this must be the movie about my mid-life crisis.
Julia Roberts, as mid-40s me, everywoman, in faded jeans and a t-shirt, is suddenly gripped by the fear that everything she built her life on (including a brick foundation) is dust in the wind.
It’s Tolstoy’s Konstantin Levin, Americanized, with pony-tail.
That sounds unlikely. And I’ve never really liked Levin.
Maybe this story is not about me at all:
The other day,
as my son was leaving the house,
one of the demolition team said to him (jokingly):
You’d think your parents could have given you a house with a foundation.
Nope, I’m on my own.
And I landed in another film altogether:
A boy, on the brink of manhood, against the backdrop of his parents’ no-longer-sturdy house, confronts the thrill and terror of impending independence.
Julia’s out of the picture. She’ll never agree to a mere supporting role, especially as the mother of a teenager. On the upside, that’s not my exposed furnace and water heater the neighbors have been gawking at; it’s my son’s coming-of-age story.
Or, here’s one more possibility:
Perhaps the micro implies the macro.
Perhaps the foundation of my house is sacrificed so that I (and the audience) will contemplate the crumbling American economy and the collapse of the American dream. We’ll use Laura Linney instead of Julia. This is a serious piece.
Yesterday, the masons arrived. Two men from Poland: friendly, polite, capable.
By the time I get home from work, I have a new foundation wall.
I get out of my car, and though I refrain from singing “Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła”, I do greet them with my best “Dzień dobry!” and a few other Polish pleasantries.
They are surprised and pleased that I speak Polish. I am surprised and pleased that I remember some Polish. Consonants all over the place. For a moment, life is beautiful.
They say that some of the bricks from the old foundation are salvageable and may make a nice patio.