The Tall Guy’s Office Hours Are…

I had a film cinematography teacher who was a cross between Jeff Goldblum and a mid-80’s era Lou Reed. One would think that this sounds incredible. How lucky was I to encounter such a magical creature?

Okay, but imagine a person made up of all of their absolute worst-known qualities. The self-indulgence, the myopic vision of what makes things good and bad, the shunning of people who just ‘don’t get it.’ Okay, this is just Lou Reed in personality with the looks of JG. One third of the time in class was devoted to his opinion on tragically misguided Hollywood blockbusters that would turn into conspiracy theories; one third spent on wistful tales of his time as a filmmaker, including sexual exploits done with a wink because it was just so CUTE AND NAUGHTY, RIGHT!? What a mischievous scamp!!

The final third of the time, he’d walk down in front of the podium, take the two steps down to the next level where a small table and chair was, slip his shoes off, sit “Indian” style with his crotch front-and-center and pick out anyone he thought had stopped paying attention to grill them on obscure, philosophical questions about cinematography or the dreadful assigned reading for the week.

His name is lost to me…Perhaps I blocked it out because he was also super sleazy and bummed cigarettes off of the students (rotating who it was) when we smoked in the stairwell (since it was too cold to go outside and we were up so high in the building), sneering at the brand if it was anything other than American Spirits. If they were his preferred brand, he’d crouch down to sit down on a step, as he fell into silence, with his eyes closed in feigned orgasmic glee. Then, he’d actually moan.

I should remember him since he taught me how to navigate infuriating and indulgent personalities, roadblocks to any kind of success in a career, and the ability to find ways to turn those challenges–delivered via disdain, of course–into success. Smashing the demands from him when he thought I wasn’t paying attention, by answering his questions in an equally confrontational manner, delivering stellar project work on difficult-to-watch obscure movies and acing the course.

And if I gave him the benefit of the doubt? That maybe it was all a lesson swaddled around a seemingly impossible and somewhat arbitrary course. A lesson that you would encounter people even worse in the film industry, so develop a thicker hide, honey.

Sure.

But, did he have to be so gross about it?

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No Silver or Gold, Just Solid Craftsmanship

The fact that this question is one that not only haunts me, but itches at various friends and family, and even though we yawn into adulthood, it never goes away:

“Why do I have so trouble making and keeping friends?”

I don’t take it as personally, now, because I’m in the process of self exploration to tap into the reserves of my creativity, productivity, and personal accomplishments.  I look around at social circles and some of them overlap, but generally we (sometimes unconsciously and mostly consciously) keep them apart from each other.  I notice that I do that to satisfy very specific aspects of my personality, like the maintenance of a cafeteria table from long, long ago in my head.

There are few people I connect with on all levels–which is why my fiance makes the most sense to me now as a partner for life—and I reach a saturation point with friends sooner than later.  It has nothing to do with her or him, of course; my brain just has a knock at its door and I have to answer it.  The sound means I need to escape back into solitude for just a little awhile before easing back for more social interaction.

What does it mean that I like the type of friend from whom you can tiptoe away due to life, love and work circumstances, and return a few days, a few months, a few years, and pick up again?  The implication isn’t pure selfishness; I just want to be open to life and its ever-changing nature.  When you truly know someone, the ‘catch up/elevator/how’s the weather?’ talk is unnecessary or strictly temporary before you dive back into why you feel neglected by your family, sometimes, or how on earth do you paint hands so well, dammit?

We females need a sense of comfort and not necessarily a shoulder to cry on always, only someone who.gets.it.right.away.  Life stops its junior-high type rhythms into our twenties when we know that there is something meaningful for us or in the way we couldn’t care less about who sees our visible panty-line at work or the kind of booze we like as much as we want or that tucking our children in with just two books YOU want to read before bedtime is the highlight of the year.

A friend is who we need her and want her to be at various times and when she is not, to know that it’s okay to try again in another way or expect that you will still be who she needs you to be and to try the next time it’s important for her.  The next time I find myself wrapped up in what is or isn’t about a friendship with someone means I’m either reading too much into it or that she’ll be an overlap friend because that is how we connect.