Monday, June 30, 2008

Sex and the Pity

Awright, leave me alone, I'm a little embarrassed but yes, I did see it and little of it remains save the faint aroma of bad $10-a-bag popcorn. I'm talking about Sex and the City, the movie where I seemed to be the only person in the audience who had a problem with the plot, the casting, and OMG, Carrie.

I can't stand her. I even like Big better. There. Cat's out of the Gucci bag.

Many years ago Carrie played a strumpet in First Wives' Club and though the role was a small one, she did it perfectly. Now? What can I say? Carrie is vapid, curveless, obsessed--as always--with designer labels. We're not talking form over function here, were talking form, and form only. This is a girl who drinks too much, smokes, screws at the drop of a pantie and has a pretty high opinion of herself. Her bon mots are often nasty and deprecating. She has little to offer save some hackneyed concepts that have been better observed by better writers...

The plot?? Boy gets girl. Girls gets greedy. Boy decides he is a fashion accessory. Boy bails. I won't tell you the end but you can guess.

The other three ladies are given short shrift, which is a shame. On TV, they held the story together as we struggled to put up with Carrie's increasingly frightening shortcomings.

OK, I'm ranting.

When the series first came out, a number of my male friends often gathered secretly to watch it. They admitted to finding SATC unsettling to the male ego. I remember one guy in particular saying that if you could put all the women together, you'd have one pretty decent chick. I'm not sure that's true anymore.

Here's installment 32 of Wasted Miracles.

“What if she has nothing to tell us?” Comfort said.
The Zulu thought about it for a moment, smiled. “She does. She perhaps doesn’t know it, but she does.” He paused, scratched his head, smiled again. “Because the late Herbie was not a stupid man. I know this, I hired him and, with few exceptions,” he gave Comfort a sidelong look, “I have not been known to hire fools.
“With that amount of money, Herbie would have, what do they call it, a back door? Yes. A back door, someone he could trust to get the money for him should he be unable to. Herbie had no family. Few friends. No one he could really trust, save of course Miss Stilwell. And he would want to boast. But Herbie was a paranoid man. All good drug dealers are, so his trust would only go so far. He would tell her, but without telling her. It’s really very simple, if you pause to think about it.” The Zulu looked quite pleased with himself. Comfort less so.
She thought it odd, interesting, somehow right that it would end this way. Drugs had been her life, her joy and nemesis, fighting their pull had been the hardest thing she’d ever done and she’d never actually won, not really. She’d been victorious in a few battles but had lost the war, no sense pretending otherwise, and what was occurring now was truly beyond her control. She hadn’t wanted this, hadn’t looked for it, it had just happened, an evil, wasted miracle. She spent minutes or hours wondering if, left on her own, she would have stayed away, decided not. In Greek mythology class she’d read about the sirens’ call and this was truly hers; it was her karma. Kind of like a Bhuddist thing. She’d read about that too.
They’d left her purse after searching it and when she became bored she took everything out and lined it up on the floor. Not much to show for a life: some spare change, a tube of lipstick, some Clearasil. Eight bucks, three singles and a five in her wallet. A credit card, driver’s license, an ATM card.
In the bottom of the purse she found the charm bracelet Herbie had given her when they’d visited Baltimore Harbor. They’d taken pictures. Herbie had a new camera he wanted to try out, a Pentax with different lenses in a leather bag. The bracelet wasn’t an expensive thing, plain silver links with a clasp, a single charm, silver as well, a tiny ship he’d bought her with the bracelet.
She stared at it. Used her teeth to separate the ship from the bracelet. Squeezed it between the palms of her hands until it hurt. She peered at it, saw it wasn’t really that well made, there was a visible line the long way down
the middle and she supposed that had happened when they stamped the piece in Korea or wherever it came from.
She stuck it in her mouth, bit down, felt the slightest give. Now there was the imprint of her molars on the hull. She wished she were on a ship, somewhere on a bright clean sea where the wind would whip at her skin and leave it feeling tight and good. At the harbor in Baltimore where Herbie had bought the bracelet, there’d been a big ship, one of those boats that she imagined circled around the world and stopped at interesting tropical places where friendly natives sold trinkets to the tourists and smiled a lot. Herbie had hired a limo to drive them to Baltimore that day, he didn’t have a license, said he hated driving, and the black chauffeur had taken a photo of them with the new camera, she sitting on the hood of the car, Herbie next to her, the tourist ship visible in the distance. She had few mementos, didn’t believe in the past very much but Herbie had had a print enlarged and framed and given it to her so she’d kept it. It had been one of those almost perfect days but now it seemed to belong to a different lifetime and a different person.

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