Thursday, October 28, 2010

Flex Time

One of the best things about a pastor's schedule is the flexibility. One of the worst things about a pastor's schedule is also the flexibility. You just cannot control crisis. You can't control when someone will need you. So, it becomes key to take the time when you can and use it to your advantage.

Yesterday I left the office early. I went home. I laid on my couch with my dog. I read a considerable amount of the fantasy novel that I usually only get to pick up at bedtime. Fortunately, I've read it before, so it's not a crisis when I doze off in the middle of reading and lose a couple of pages. On the other hand, when I read it fully awake, I realize that I was probably half asleep the last time I read it, too; there are clearly things happening in this book that I did not catch the first time around. It's one of those strange creatures, mysterious powers, medieval outfits kinds of books that gets me totally out of my own head while still exploring universal life themes, which I appreciate.

Apparently I was into the whole fantasy thing yesterday, because my roommate and I then decided to watch "Sex and the City 2." I am a long time SATC fan. If you're thinking of chastising me for my inappropriate viewing preferences, save your fingers. It's been done. I know it sometimes glorifies promiscuity and greed. I just like the show: the friendships, the witty banter, the combination of heart-rending seriousness and fall on the floor humor, and, for better or for worse, the fashion. I'm often annoyed by the fashion - by what it looks like and by the rank materialism that spurs the fashion industry - but I enjoy the opportunity to comment on it. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have...

Much to my surprise, I liked the second movie better than the first. I wasn't sure why, at first. It is completely outlandish. If there are actual women with lives like these, I don't know them. At the beginning of the show, there were certain aspects of their lives that baffled me (how do they afford those shoes?), but I felt like could know these women. I know women who have jobs like these, and lives which, if distilled primarily to what they do socially, look similar to these. Early on, they occasionally had financial woes and such. However, my ability to relate to their lives decreased as some of the characters married rich and obtained closets bigger than my apartment.

The second movie is, in some ways, about four women whose lives could not be more different from mine. The clothes are ridiculous. Their ignorance and disrespect of foreign culture might make for good comedy, but are still pretty appalling. The whole "let's run off to Abu Dhabi" thing is unbelievable even to someone who travels as much as I do. The movie is supposed to be over the top, and it is. The trip aside, even their normal lives - which are fraught with the issues involved in marriage, children, jobs, and friendship - are not exactly accessible. Full time nannies? Really?

That said, I prefer this movie to the first one, which felt like being emotionally run over repeatedly by a Mack truck and then finally peeled off the pavement at the end. It was one crisis after another. Frankly, it was a little too real for me, a little too close to life as I experience it everyday through my job. The second one was more like what I loved about the show, that balance of heartache, introspection, humor, and ribaldry. The high life they live is a fantasy, as removed from the real world as the magical world of my escapist novels. But if they weren't wearing my year's salary in a single outfit and jetting around the world complaining that they might be consigned to coach class, these women could be my friends. And Samantha still makes me laugh.

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