An Evening at the CineBistro in Vail

Gore Creek Drive, Vail, CO
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An Evening at the Cinebistro in Vail….

So my friends and I decide to go to the movies in Vail where it has been so cold one doesn’t want to venture outside. We choose a movie we think will be entertaining and are excited to be going to a place where they serve dinner while you watch the movie.

After being shown to our very plush seats we discuss how exciting it is to be in these large and comfy black leather seats drinking a glass of wine and eating popcorn from an enormous bowl. We all comment on how wonderful this experience is and then we ponder the possibility of its business success. This mini math minute is solved once we see the bill for the movie, the wine, the popcorn and the water, but I still thought it was a fun deal to be sitting there as if you were in your own screening room.

The movie, “The Mechanic” was incredibly violent and bloody and the three of us spent much of the film with our eyes closed. People were killed for no apparent reason and the star of the film was so lacking in empathetic quality one couldn’t identify or root for any hero or heroine as there was none. All in all it was a high testosterone film with little to admire or engage with.

Next to our little group in the same row were three “Master of the Universe” men who were all in the late 50’s, early 60’s, well dressed and attractive: clearly a man’s night out in Vail. They ordered large, fat hamburgers and cokes. Not a drink among them.

During the film a couple  arrived and sat in the front row where they began a conversation that consisted of loud giggling on the part of the woman and loud voiced remarks from her date. They ordered many drinks which the waiter brought to them despite the theater policy of no drinks after the show began. Their conversation became louder and more suggestive but the film was so loud I forgot about them. Apparently the three “masters of the Universe” did not.

When the film ended they pushed past us to exit the row and almost ran down the stairs to confront the couple. One man shoved the small, rather drunk man, saying “What do you think you were doing? You are asking for it. You want it? Come on, you want it? “

His friends joined in, shoving the drunk guy and pushing him to the ground. Others in the theater tried to intervene but the Masters were having none of it.  The drunken guy just kept laughing. One of the master’s, the same guy I think, started in on the woman saying, “Where’s that slut that was with you?”

At this point I felt as if I was back in the film but I couldn’t leave the theater. Within one minute there was a violent fight going on in front of my nose and blocking the exit. Men who tried to intervene were shoved aside and the drunk guy was repeated shoved to the floor while the Master’s said, “Want more, oh yeah, you little creep, want some more?”

Finally we slipped by the fight scene and left the theater but not before asking the front desk woman to call 911. She responded that she couldn’t leave her post.

When we got home we all breathed a sigh of relief and none of us felt good. These men were out of control and beating up a much smaller and much drunker guy who only crime was alcohol abuse and silliness. Why did they do this, we wondered? They hadn’t been drinking which made their behavior even scarier. Why were they so angry and why did they cause a major scene in front of others, frightening all of us? They were clearly well off, attractive and successful guys so why did they get so out of control so quickly and indulge in behavior that was so wrong on so many levels?

Was it the combination of the film violence and the lack of empathy, perhaps the fact that the only woman in the film was a prostitute, or is this possibility for explosion lurking underneath all the high testosterone males today? A remnant from the cave man fighting for territory days.

I have no answer. All that I can say is that it was terrifying.

Lament to Valentine’s Day

Early 20th century Valentine's Day card, showi...
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Lament to Valentine’s Day

I am not sure why it exists but do realize it has something to do with St Valentine, maybe Cupid, and definitely Hallmark cards. I start to worry about Valentine’s Day a few weeks before it happens. Why do I worry, you might ask? Right. Normal people don’t worry. Normal people just laugh at the reoccurrence of this holiday and sometimes buy chocolate, or send a sappy card, or maybe invite their significant other to dinner and then forget about it.

Single people get stressed! It is another example of how the whole world appears to be in love and you are the only loser who has no one to have dinner with on Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of admirers or even a big support system, being unable to count on a Valentine’s Day date is a problem.

I am in a vacation spot at the moment and it is filled with red, heart shaped objects. I can’t identify the origin of some of them. Most seem faintly pornographic to me. I know this is a bad sign and probably represents a huge jealous streak but it is the absolute truth. I am embarrassed to look into these windows feeling as if I am not entitled to look. I find this a really interesting feeling. I know if you want to find a partner you are supposed to visualize what that would feel and look like in your life. Sometimes it is hard to take this seriously as it gets tiresome. Most things that feel too serious to me are abandoned into humor.

So I have been working on this Valentine’s Day issue and thinking of what it means. I guess to many of us single people holidays remind us anyway of our lack of a partner and this is the worst one. Yes, it’s superficial and ridiculous and faintly pornographic as I said before but it still is bothersome to many. I found that even married people don’t like it as their expectations are often dashed and they are disappointed but unwilling to say anything. This applies to both men and women.

Love is not just a word. It’s a constantly changing force between two people whether mother and child, father and son, husband and wife, or two people who are slowly falling in love. Why do we call it “falling in love”? Think about it. You have the sense of falling and having no control at all. You can’t control the object of your affection nor can you make them behave in the way you think you want them to. In the beginning of a love affair nothing can be counted on, not even reciprocal love. Everything has to go on faith and for most of us this is really hard. The older you get the harder this becomes.

I wish I had an answer but I don’t. I think the only way to approach anything stressful is to remind yourself to detach all the time and to remember that longing or grasping or wanting is only doing harm to yourself. It feels much better to just observe and notice what’s going on and to love whomever you feel like loving without looking for something in return.

A Stroke of What?

Tibetan endless knot
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A Stroke

The meaning of the word is interesting, isn’t it? Someone can be stroked by someone else, be slapped by someone else, have a stroke of luck, or have their brain slapped by itself resulting in some kind of disability. Recently a friend of mine had a stroke and she happens to be 88.

She was at home and suddenly felt her left arm lose feeling, her mouth lose control, and she felt off balance. She had a friend drive her to the Emergency Room where she put on lipstick before the doctor came into the room. The doctor briefly examined her, inquired about her symptoms, and told her it was fine to go home saying there was nothing seriously wrong as far as he could see.

Being a dutiful sort of person she didn’t argue but meekly left the hospital for her home twenty minutes away. As she is a very intelligent woman she immediately went to her computer, got online and googled her symptoms: she realized she had, in all probability, had a stroke. The symptoms became more pronounced and in twelve hours she returned to the Emergency Room without makeup or sophisticated dress and was taken more seriously. This time she did not allow herself to be dismissed and the doctor on call immediately understood the seriousness of the situation. He ordered a CAT scan which clearly spelled out where in her brain the stroke had happened. She was admitted instantly and treatment was begun.

Why am I telling this story? Well, for a lot of reasons. The obvious reason is that here is a story of how an older WOMAN can be viewed by medical personnel if she is wearing nice clothing, has makeup on, and discounts her symptoms. My friend was trained in childhood never to complain and she doesn’t. She is constantly brave and stalwart no matter what happens in her life and a lot has happened.

I am also telling the story because it is about death and how we feel about death. My daughter brought my friend a copy of the video done by Jill Bolte Taylor called “My Stroke of Insight” and they watched it together. For those of you who have not seen the video it is about the author’s experience of having a stroke at age 37 and what happened to her during the time she was experiencing the stroke and her subsequent recovery. It  has been all over the internet as people who watch it are inspired by Taylor’s description of her passage into a place where she had no control  and her resulting “right brain consciousness” She describes her transition into spirituality and a deeper understanding  of all that is possible in life.

To my daughter’s astonishment, my friend was disgusted by the video, claiming the scientist had publicized her experience to make money and discounting her insights into life and the spiritual side of things. The funny thing was later that day I visited the house bringing with me a copy of Taylor’s book not knowing my daughter had already previewed the film with my friend. I find this kind of synchronicity often happens with my daughter but that’s another tale.

Here’s my final analysis: I think all of us are frightened of death and the closer we get to it the more frightened we are. I have been with older people as they faced death and with younger people and I find that the younger people often have a more gentle outlook on what is going to happen after they move on from this life. Maybe because they have been exposed to a different type of spiritual understanding of life, the possibility of life after death, reincarnation or some type of reassuring picture that death is not a final journey where the light turns off and we are nonexistent. I think older people were not able to have the luxury that younger generations have of examining life and its meaning and hanging on to hope and to the idea of universal love. The power of actualization and the belief that you can create your own destiny. I have a feeling that if you haven’t ventured donw the spirituality path during your lifetime whether in church, temple or Buddhist meditation, you may have a hard time when faced with your own immortality.

My mother was terrified of death and often asked me what I thought happened once you stopped breathing. She once asked if I could go with her as it would “be more fun with me there”. In the end she fought dying with her every gasping breath, a death rattle that went on for two weeks. Painful to watch, not for me but for her.

My friend who had the stroke asked me recently what I thought happened after death and said she had read of those who meet dead friends who are sent to greet them. I agreed with her and said I believed this to be true. I am not sure she believed me but I was happy she was considering the possibility. I feel tremendous love for my friend and already a deep sense of loss for her place in my life. I like to be with people when they are at life’s end and hope that my comments are reassuring to them. It often surprises me at how reluctant the healthy are to discuss death with their loved ones who may be dying. If we spent a little time  understanding and accepting death while we are still vibrantly alive it might be helpful when we face the real thing.