Saturday, February 20, 2010

More and Mortality

Unless they're particularly profound (think, oh I don't know, Schindler's List), movies have no business being depressing.

That's why I Am Legend is right out. I made it perhaps a third of the way through that one tonight, and read the rest of the story on IMDB. I was right to stop watching. Unfortunately, the cheeriest pick from the movies my friend had Netflixed for our evening was Flags of Our Fathers; and at this point, you start wondering, is this guy trying to tell me something?!

Bad things are going down at work. Oh, I still love my job, but unpleasant things are happening. I've been doing lots of extra coverage at the visitor center due to our part-time visitor employee having cancer; so those of us in the administrative offices have to cover for lunch pretty often. Then, last week, one of the two full-time visitor center employees appears to have suffered a mild heart attack. He'll be okay, thank God! But we're now down, for the next week or two at least, to a single full-time staffer, and she kind of needs to have a day off every now and then, so instead of just covering for lunch a few days a week (and the occasional Saturday), we now must divide up entire workdays at the visitor center, being charming to the public.

Being charming is a skill I've been working particularly hard to develop, these last couple of years. I've always described Mom, and Grandmother and Aunt Barbara, as the kind of people who really light up a room when they walk in. My paternal grandfather, too, I've always thought of as someone who had a particularly tangible sweetness and gentleness to him. I think that's become one of my most prized and admired qualities in other people, that sense that you can talk to someone and just see, right off the bat, that they are lovely, kind, honest, sincere, just gosh-darn nice people. Not that you can't be wonderful without necessarily coming off that way right away, of course - and not that you can't be a charming, sociopathic bastard, either. But still.

So it's kind of fun, perhaps somewhat experimentally, to be as outrageously nice to people as possible in a professional capacity. It gets a response, and that response is tremendously rewarding, because you end up feeling as if you'd made a small but measurable impact on someone's day, by extension life, by extension the world, the universe, and the space-time continuum, thereby altering the laws of physics somewhat for the better. You know - playing God. At least it makes ME happy, and I'm selfish, so that'll do.

Mom's definitive depressing movie, as I recall, was Sophie's Choice. If that's on the date night menu for next weekend, I'll know what to do.


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