November 29, 2004

Harold's End

What better thing to do on the first evening of the long Thanksgiving weekend than watch all 3+ hours of The Godfather, Part II? In retrospect I'm not quite sure why I thought to bring the movie over to Carol and Dan's on Wednesday evening, but Carol was game (Dan had already seen it and was sucked into his computer game). I had watched The Godfather for the first time several weeks ago and had really liked it, but I think Part II is even better than the original. Al Pacino's Michael comes into his own as the don of the Corleone family, while the early career of his father Vito is portrayed in flashback by the inimitable Robert De Niro. Carol and I had originally planned to only watch the first half, but when the first disc came to an end we couldn't bear to stop. Dan was even lured away from his computer for the last bit; the story is just that compelling. Michael finds himself unable to resist power's lure, and it corrupts his life so absolutely that in the final scene he is left completely isolated and alone. After pursuing his goals with a fearsome ruthlessness he is not exactly a sympathetic character, and yet my heart broke for him just the same.

As often happens this time of year, at some point on Tuesday I was suddenly possessed with a strong desire to donate time to the San Francisco Food Bank. However, because I am blessed to live in the Bay Area where a multitude of individuals have similar ideas around Thanksgiving, the Food Bank temporarily declined my offer but urged me to check back after the holidays when many of their volunteers drop away. So instead of sorting food in a cold warehouse on Thursday, I selfishly took the opportunity to think about some of my own gratitudes, just on general principle:

I am hugely grateful to my friends and family, without whom I never would have made it through this very difficult year. My community held me up and pulled me through, sometimes even against my will. I am grateful for the happy years I had with Tybalt, and for the giant tabby who came into my life after he was gone. Richter is snuggled into my jacket right now, hiding his nose from the cold. I am grateful to live where I do, with (mostly) likeminded people and with enough culture for me to drown in. I am grateful for desert sunsets, fireworks and Corona with lime, moonlight reflecting off the Mississippi. I am grateful for so many things I don't want to list them all for fear of sounding trite.

I was unsuccessful in my attempt to be a Thanksgiving volunteer, and I also failed in my Saturday morning effort to take Brent to see Epic, Southern Exposure's 14th annual juried exhibition. For some reason it never occurred to me the gallery would be closed for the holiday weekend. After trying to shove through the locked gate for an embarrassing amount of time we finally thought to read the notice tacked to the wall nearby. I was annoyed at myself and disheartened until Brent pointed out a stencil on the wall that formed a silhouette of one of Margaret Kilgallen's surfer girls complete with a heart painted onto her board. I made Brent take a picture, then also aimed him at the kitty sprayed onto the dumpster next to my car. As we were getting ready to leave a group of young boys came wandering down the street, and my wrongful assumption that they were simply up to no good on their day off from school was shattered when they took out a camera to snap their own pictures of the kitty stencil.


The Godfather, Part II
San Francisco Food Bank
Southern Exposure

Posted by nightfall at November 29, 2004 08:31 PM