Why Noir, Part 2

Black film?

“No, film noir,” I was told. Not being much of a Francophile, I had to take their word for it.

But to me, it’s been more like gris.

And like so much of my own life (our lives?), I know now why.

“It’s grown-man’s music,” said Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones in an interview I’d heard awhile back. At the time, I was much younger and didn’t quite get his take on the blues. And neither could I make the connection between his words and my future journey into the cinematic gris.

That too I know now why.

A visual and audio punctuation mark answer to the question posed in the title might look and sound like this:

And it would make the point better than these words could ever do.

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Why Noir, Pt. 1

It’s the authenticity I think.

What is it about this type of film that draws me in? I was wondering about it on the way home tonight. I wonder about it a lot actually.

The real steel probably is part of it. At least part of the Part 1 part. In my imagination, the steel was more real than the steel today. Like you could feel it when you shut a car door. Sounded better. Heavier.

And the smoking. I sorta liked that everyone was always smoking. And drinking too. It was out there, not hidden. Everyone was doing a lot of both. Shamelessly. Not like they should have been ashamed, but more like, they were not ashamed.

The authenticity.

The Lie

It’s all about the lie. In golf, as in life.

Forget about grabbing the 60 degree wedge. Please. Never mind the distance. It’s all about your lie.

Been caddying since I was 17. I’m 53 now. Way too many golfers pay way too much attention to distance. Pulling out the 60, without regard to the lie, is usually the quickest path to the, “what am I DOING” blurt which invariably follows every either thinned, skulled, t-boned, bladed, or chunked shot.

Instead, most golfers would do better to hit a higher percentage pitch and run shot with a less-lofted club.

The Mirror on the Wall

On another cold Sunday morning and up alone while everyone else sleeps, I made my way through some photos from only a few lives ago.

Damn it. How can it be that so much has changed?

No longer little girls, smiles have been replaced by the brooding of young adulthood (oh could I have stopped time and taken a number amongst the long line of dreamers who’ve gone before– like I’m covering some new ground here).

Where are they now? Locked away in their thoughts; comprehending the slights and arguments that the passing of time slowly uncovered.

I was a hero then; maybe. In my own mind. The delusion made it easier to go on.

Now what? More tears. The passing of time is a mirror which haunts me.

And today it’s speaking back a little louder than usual.

Dust Motes Near the Lockers

Just floating through the air.

Sitting here now, I can almost remember thinking that I’d remember the dust motes. Emerging from the bathroom, I’d walked down the hall on the way back to class.

And just across from the entrance to the school library, there were windows which looked out into the courtyard. The Florida sun would burn through the saline air of a beach life, highlighting the particulars of that first few periods of the day moment.

And just like then, I’m alone.

Like gasoline fumes, there was something mirage-like about the dust motes floating within the rays of light.

In high school.

On a day which left no other impressions (where did they go? where do they go?), I still have that vision today. How can that be?

With my own children now at the age of me that day, I wonder what seemingly insignificant events interrupt their days. And I wonder too how much they’ll take with them.

So I sit here tonight thinking and writing because I don’t know what else to do.

Dust motes.

Job Opening

Immediate opening for the following job in which few, if any, will understand. The successful candidate will be from another planet and must have the following:

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

  • Demonstrated success translating research results into actionable recommendations that have a traceable impact on product or design strategy and execution.
  • Extremely strong communication skills and demonstrated success presenting research study results in a clear and compelling manner to cross-functional stakeholders that persuades action.
  • Razor sharp attention to detail, highly organized, ability to accurately set and consistently meet commitments.
  • Minimum of 5 years experience leading design research activities within a product development organization or in support of a large website.
  • Experience utilizing qualitative analysis techniques (e.g., content analysis, affinity modeling) and quantitative analysis (e.g., cluster analysis, descriptive and inferential statistics) to explore, understand, and establish relationships between discrete data points.
  • Experience conducting research throughout the product development cycle of successfully launched consumer web and/or software applications, including up-front discovery, concept generation and exploration, and various forms of design evaluations.
  • Advanced degree in Cognitive or Experimental/Social Psychology, Cognitive Science, Human Factors/HCI, Anthropology, Design, or related area.
  • Experience in quantitative research and analysis and experimental design a plus.
  • ¬†Yeah right. 

A Dessicated Rose

Turning my head slightly to the side, I couldn’t help but smile to myself. In the car next to me, would she have smiled too?

Funny. The metaphor wasn’t lost.

So how much of this is autobiographical? You have no idea.

An outstretched hand leads the way. Following the flashlight’s beam and heading down the stairs, it’s time to go back.

Seashells ’82. That’s what the cover says. Was what I saw. What a strange secret I’ve kept. All these years, I thought someone was watching. Instead, I’m the lead.

Far away, I kid myself that she’s peeked too. And me? Left rummaging in the basement, looking in a book. It’s usually kept just safely out of reach. Except for tonight.

In between the pages, the wax paper cocoon is a silent tomb. It’s a thirty-something haunting.

I put it there; then.

Now I look in the mirror. Same person, different shell. No longer of the sea, the change in seasons has parched the skin. In my hands tonight though, the rose I hold has dried out too.

A Roast Beef Sandwich

The mechanic was telling my uncle that he only had a few months to live.

Cancer he said.

Working at the gas station as a kid during the summers, my concern was getting through the day. I was 12. And working over the summers? Thanks for the memories mom and dad.

It was a roast beef sandwich that I’d remember too.

We’d order lunch from the deli next door. The gas station guys. One of my jobs was to place the orders and pick up the food. I’d get looked at sideways enough though to order something cheaper than say, the roast beef. Liverwurst or bologna was usually a safe and financially sound bet.

My uncle? He’d always get roast beef and swiss with a little mayo. Sounded so good. Even today.

On that day, while eating his king’s fare and listening to the mechanic, I finally got my chance.

“Here. You can finish the rest,” he turned to me afterward and said. “I’ve lost my appetite.”

And I did, not knowing that the taste would last for almost forty years..