January 20, 2004
Lost in Translation
So after I quit screeching in decibels that only dogs here on the phone to friends and family and stopped generally acting like Woody Woodpecker hopped up on cocaine, I felt a pure and perfect sense of happiness that can only come when you are given a reason to start believing in yourself again. All of those fucking doubts and haunted feelings that I had, the whispers of people taunting me and telling me I was worthless just dried up.
And maybe I am worthless, but I got the job. A job that pays 50% more than Company X paid me. And I get a company car. Somehow, I feel vindicated.
Last Thursday I went to see the movie "Lost in Translation" in the theater. It's the film with Bill Murray, playing an aging, lost actor who does whiskey ads in Tokyo, and meets up with a fellow lost American who is also pinging around in her space like a drunken pinball. This film has become my second-favorite movie of all time, no mean feat considering all of the time I spend watching films.
I just got this film. It hit me on a thousand different levels of understanding. Not only have I been to Japan and felt like a stranger in a strange land (even though I am part Japanese), there was one scene that clinched it for me, and smacked me upside the head with the strong feeling of: Finally, a filmmaker that writes about something that I can relate to.
There's a scene where Bill Murray's character decides to call home and talk to his wife. Their marriage is ailing and they have become near strangers, bonded together basically for the sake of their children. He rings her up after too much to drink and a bit jet-lagged, mostly because he wants to hear her voice but also because he just wants to reach out to someone. The conversation goes badly, you can tell that they just aren't connecting, and as he hangs up he says: "Well, that was a bad idea." and drops the phone on the bed next to him.
I've done that. Exactly that. And exactly that while I was in Tokyo, no less. And I've had exactly that rocky phone call in a series of other countries as well, and not only have I had them with Partner Unit, I have had them with the boyfriend before him, too. To reach out, pop a number out on the phone and hope on the other end of the line is a relieved voice full of hope and love, not full of exhaustion and daily grind. To ring someone up at the very second when you realize that the thing you want most is to hear a familiar voice that will ground you to the real world in a way that no passport, no nationality can do.
That's why this movie has become my second favorite (second only to "Grosse Point Blank", which has been enjoying favorite status for some years now). It just affected me so much. I understood and related to every scene, every emotion, every need of a traveller desperately trying to find their way.
Partner Unit and I didn't talk Saturday night, since his flight was delayed and he got in at 3 am. But we did talk on Sunday night, and a bit last night too. The good news is, so far we are friends. The bad news is, so far we are both very sad. I did not mention Mr. Y and I never will-I see no need to destroy him just to relieve my guilt. We have agreed to sell the house in the Spring when it may fetch more money. Since the bottom dropped out of the real estate market here just after we bought it, we will consider ourselves lucky if we even make what we owe on the house.
I find I want to hug him a lot, to try to comfort him. I find I want to give him all of my money and make him laugh. I find I want to just curl up next to him in bed and sleep in the warm glow of him. But instead we roll up in our own duvets, two little eggrolls that cannot touch, and sleep fitfull sleep that is broken by Kafka dreams, jet-lag, and despair.
We cannot talk about deep issues, he never remembers what I tell him, his anger is frightening and all-consuming, but I do love him and always will, and nothing will ever take away from the fact that I hate myself for busting us up and breaking his heart.
My citizenship seems to be stalled-the chickie processing my application is out sick and unless she is out for three or more weeks, none of her cases will be re-assigned. So my passport and application linger in her inbox. In the meantime, I am paying 600 pounds and filing for a work permit on my own in the UK, which requires a fuckload of paperwork, DNA samples, sacrificial virgins, and an oath in blood that I will never go on the dole in the UK. I hope to have this done soon, and only once I have this can I start working. So I have no real start date yet.
But now my days aren't going to be spent obsessively pouring through web job sites. I am going to kick back, read books, watch movies, and blog.
In the meantime, here's to broken dreams, hopeful futures, and a small independent film that touched my heart. Run right out to see it, OK?
PS-Rob has done a hell of a good job with the Best of Me Symphony. Say hello!
Posted by Everydaystranger at January 20, 2004 06:13 AM
Hey Helen.......Im so pleased for you! Ive been anxiously awaiting each episode in your life.
Now things are GREAT! Wow..now go out and buy the diamonds already.hehe..
OK, you just convinced me to go and watch Lost in Translation with my wife next Saturday.
And what import does it have that some approve, some disapprove, and some like me do a bit of both, of you and Mr. Y bonking at the airport? I mean, this is your blog after all, n'est-ce pas?
Sadly, Volvo-Man has survived still.
Proof that karma may be just, but only when you're not around.
Miguel-no worries, I don't really censor myself here. Generally, the only thing I change are names, to protect those in my life.
Jiminy-you've further upped your value with the Buffy-love :)
Hi Jim and sorry Helen,
I wish I'd have made the connection between 'the company car', London drivers beware and Helen;-)
I wonder how Volvo man is doing with his lousy 'redundant' job?
"Phil-I know there are some that disapprove, and others that approve"... what? One thing I came to expect here is no censorship, and plain truth. Please keep on going and blogging... please. Love, Miguel.
p. s. - PU reading this blog could be a good thing, except maybe too much as been said here... no?
Cograts on the job! I just knew you would get it. :) I'm so happy for you!
May have to see that one.
"You can never go home again, Oatman, but i guess you can shop there."
It embarrassing for my wife, and will be for my children to admit that yes, I too am a fan of Buffy. A huge fan. Never missed an episode and don't know what to do with myself now that it's gone. A truly remarkable show. Don't be ashamed, H, shout it out, "I love Buffy!"
Kind of ruins the serious, studied, reasonable thing I've been grooving with here, doesn't it?
Congrats again on the job, H.
You're timing is spot on as always! I just saw Lost in Translation on Sunday and loved it. A very good story that definitely hit home. I saw what could have easily become my life had I stayed in an empty, loveless marriage. Except, of course, for the part where he gets paid $2 million for doing scotch ads!
My Life v2.0 is infinitely better because of the people I've met on my new journey. I feel fortunate that I've crossed paths with you, little flame, even if it's only over the Web.
Yes jim-and you may be one of those (you need to expound more on this on your site!)
Mister O-good job :)
Phil-I know there are some that disapprove, and others that approve. I struggled a bit with telling about the airport episode, but in the end, I just felt beind honest about it was the best bet. Even at risk of alienation.
"and a company car"
drivers in London - beware!
Cheers, H. It's Santori time.
I find myself torn. While I love your journal and the way you verbalise what you're thinking and feeling, and while I knew you were struggling with life, the PU and everything, I find myself disappointed by your airport 'encounter' with Mr. Y.
I can't judge you, for people do what they feel is best, but I think disappointed was the right way for me to feel.
Saying that, this blog is one of the most 'real' I've read, good luck...
Abs-Dear Mate is already in the UK, however Best Friend seems dead keen on not going back there!
What a bittersweet moment of personal growth. I'm so thankful you landed a bigger and better job (and company wheels, whoo hoo!) but it's always sad when a relationship ends, especially one you lived passionately and hopefully once upon a time.
Good luck with the casa, too. If only you could magically transport it here. People here just keep pushing real estate values higher and higher every year...
Helen, keep the movie reviews coming, as long as they give some insight on you. All the best, Miguel.
here's to broken dreams, hopeful futures ...
I'll drink to that, but it's 09:50 in the morning so I'll have to save it until this evening.
Helen, i am praying the hope of your future will help you through this difficult time with PU.
I saw lost in translation on saturday night and felt a real connection with the film - it is amazing, no doubt about it.
I also need to know, how are you going to get Dear Mate and Best Friend to the UK?!?!
I'm so stoked for you, darlin', I don't know what to say. (Me? Not know what to say? Shyeah. Rrright.)
The interesting thing about being THAT depressed is that you have the ability to REALLY enjoy the good times.
So sit back, wiggle your toes and your nose and say to yourself -- I did it.
Because you did, you know. I always knew you had it in you. Now YOU do, too.
As always, you have my very best wishes to go with you.
Hey, Buffy rocks! Do I sound like a sappy fangirl or what? Heh. Just wanted to delurk and say congratulations on the job and the move and even on the being able to not obsessively check job sites every day. Here's hoping that your change of good fortune will be a signal that my fiancee and I's luck is changing as well. Also, thanks for reminding me to watch that movie. I've heard good things, but never remember it. Keep writing Helen - your blog has become an addiction!
Simon-I would review movies here, but basically it would be an endless stream of them. I am a loser who watches too many films, after all. I would hate to disappoint those who come here and find out that I am not the cool person they suspected.
After all, just wait till it gets out that I like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"...
I've heard realling good things about Bill Murray's performance in Lost in Translation.
Has this blog gone from being a heart-felt tell-all to a movie review site?
Congrats again on the new job and given what you've been through, I wouldn't fret too much about the citizenship. It looks like it's all coming good, even with PU in a way.