Monday, January 29, 2007

The Life and Times of Martinio Kröger

It would appear that I have embarked on a self-inflicted, Tonio Kröger phase. Wherever I go these past few days, I feel myself feeling mildly aloof, retreating from sociality role and into that of observer. The only difference is that while Thomas Mann is about the tension between the artist as observer and society, my tension is strictly between Martina the Introvert and her immediate community. Art has nothing to do with it.

If I'm going to be honest (and why not?), there are times when I find it exceedingly difficult to be social; times when interaction that should come naturally feels like an incredible amount of work. At those times, there is an odd comfort in stepping back and watching, even when the part of me that fears that I'm acting like a unabomberesque "she was always so quiet and also nice to dogs and children, we never expected anything like this" type rather than just having an introverted day.

It's not misanthropism or even that I am shunned, because everyone's heart is filled with hate at the sight of me. At worst I might evoke ambivalence in some people, but I'm hardly the girl everyone loves to hate. Really, my friends, family, and personal community are pretty tolerant of my shy girl phases. As a result, I get that when I become this way, it's all me. Sometimes, even when I feel like I should seek a role more active than playing the whacky, wide-eyed watcher in the corner, my more overwhelming urge is that of retreat. This was been unfortunate for Sunday's blogstravaganza installment, because this feeling of hyper-introversion left me not feeling like sharing anything of myself via writing for others' eyes and not caring that I didn't care that I didn't feel like posting.

So, what did I do with my weekend? Just the sort of introverted things you might expect. I took care of some necessities like grocery shopping and getting the car serviced, then I retreated to my cave and wrote a bit (but only for me), pondered the past, present and future, meditated, read. Then, when I was ready to come out of my cave (but not into society), I ordered Chinese food and watched movies.

As a result, I have a book recommendations to share:

If you've never read David Rakoff, I can highly recommend picking up his Don't Get Too Comfortable, a highly entertaining collection of essays that explores everything from citizenship and national identity to hooters air to high fashion to cryogenics. Like his friend, Sarah Vowell, Rakoff has delightful way with words. My favorite descriptive moment is the passage in which he describes Karl Lagerfeld's ass as a "large doughy rump dominating the miniature furniture [a tiny velvet chair] like a loose, flabby, ass-flavored muffin overrisen from his pan". (Let me add that in context the passage does not sound as quite as unwarranted as it does isolated here, but I'll leave it to you to read for yourself, if you're interested.) Rakoff is a great storyteller and definitely worth taking an afternoon to read.

Beyond reading, the weekend also included an accidental Paul Giamatti/3 Degrees of Toni Collette Film Festival, which featured Sideways (starring Paul Giamatti), The Lady in the Water (also, starring Paul Giamatti, directed by M. Night Shyamalan) and Little Miss Sunshine. (starring, among others, Toni Collette, who was in M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense). All in all, despite that the The Lady in the Water did not get great reviews (maybe I just liked it, because of my interest in fairy tales?), I have to admit to enjoying all three movies. I also have to admit that, while I really liked the movie for other reasons, I did not find Sideways to be (with the possible exception of the scene where Miles sneaks into the home of one of Jack's romantic conquests in order to steal his wallet back, only to be chased by angry naked guy) as "hilarious" as the DVD box promised. Then again, I come from a maternal lineage with an inexplicable affinity for Tim Conway's Dorf videos, and may just be genetically incapable of getting humor of a subtlety greater than Carol Burnett wearing a set of drapes (curtain rod included) as a dress.

And so it is that I have shared enough thoughts for one day. Now it's back to the cave...

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