Monday, April 05, 2010
What happens when you finally get something you have wanted for a very long time and don't want it anymore? This is the question posed by Up In The Air, a film I just watched on dvd again and love. George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a man who knows himself well. He doesn't want marriage, children, or a permanent place to live. He makes a living firing people and teaching others to rid themselves of baggage. He practices what he preaches; his apartment is as sparse as a monk's cell and his backpack contains only essentials, the most important ones being those elite status cards that tell him who he is. Contrary to popular belief, there aren't that many perks to being a gold member. It's more the idea of yourself as a person who deserves more than the other unwashed masses -- that's what places are selling, not a better seat on the plane or a cookie at check-in.
Of course, Ryan changes over the course of the film. He falls in love, that transformative force. He takes a risk that he didn't imagine he would take, and it doesn't work out. He gets what he wants (reaching the ten million air mile point), but he finds it's not at all as he imagined. Even though he's most himself surrounded by strangers who know his name, he doesn't know who he is. Like the people he fires, he finds himself completely adrift, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. He looks at that familiar screen with all those arrivals and departures. Where will he go from here? It feels as hopeless as those without work, but it's not. He has all those miles; he can go anywhere he wants.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." Mick Jagger
Drinking cable suggestion: How To Make It In America
Benedictions and Maledictions