To Amy on Her 37th Birthday*

Heidi and Amy. c. 1987.

I don’t think I’ve ever told Amy this, but years ago, probably when I was in college, I internally accepted the idea that my adult life would end up with me living in her basement.

Set aside the fact that I intuitively — and, as it turns out, correctly — knew that I would not be good at being an adult. I also knew that Amy would have a better grasp on figuring things out than I would and that she would willingly house me for an open-ended period of time and not judge me for not having my shit together.

Years have passed since this personal revelation. But during those years, even though her life at times was very distant from mine literally (as she lived on two different continents) and figuratively (because I’m an emotionally distant android-like creature on a good day), I continued to live with this plan in the back of my mind. Even when she did not have a reliable address, let alone a basement.  

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Adulthood is Still Growing Up

And these were just the ones still in my wallet.

And these were just the ones still in my wallet.

Some people drink, some people workout in excess, some people get high—I go to the movies. In the summer especially, when people are drinking on patios or out on their boats, I’m probably in the middle of a dark theater by myself trying to escape into another world for a couple hours.

Yesterday I took myself across the river to E Street to see Boyhood.

I have been waiting for Boyhood to come out ever since I heard about it. I love Richard Linklater’s films—even The Newton Boys. There’s an honesty and a thoughtfulness to his work that I don’t seem to find in any other filmmaker. In Linklater’s films, you get the distinct feeling that he is trying to capture something about the human experience in order to relate to other people, not for self-indulgence. He, like me, seems to have devoted his life to, well, trying to figure this life shit out.

Boyhood is yet another spectacular attempt, starting at youth and ending with the main character, Mason, at age 18 and starting college. It was filmed over the course of 12 years, so you get a striking continuity to the main characters that has, as far as I know, never been done before in a non-documentary film. The pop culture references peppered throughout are nostalgia-inducing. The soundtrack is woven beautifully into the movie and becomes an element of the story. (Ethan Hawke talking about Wilco’s “Hate It Here” is something I never knew I needed until it happened.)

I’m not exactly sure why, but my immediate reaction after seeing Boyhood was to burst into tears—both the good kind of tears and the bad kind of tears. For who I am, who I was, and who I thought I would be.

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