You know what? I never told you what I did on Friday night. Nobody said anything! What's with all fifteen of you unique visitors to this website on Monday, and -- ooh, uptick! -- eighteen yesterday not saying anything about this? Help me out here, people!
Anyway I took myself to see a Western I quite enjoyed called Hostiles, starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, and several actual Native American actors -- always a good sign. The only reason I went to see it was because I simply looked at what movies were playing at all local theatres that I had not yet seen already, and checked out their scores on MetaCritic. Even with only a moderately good score of 65, Hostiles was the most promising.
Given the star power in it, I was a little surprised I had not heard or read anything about it at all anywhere, until simply looking at the movie listings. Seems odd. I never saw a trailer to Hostile before any of the other many movies I've gone to over the past few months. I get bombarded to death with trailers for movies like A Wrinkle In Time or Annihilation, but this? Nothing. Granted, I don't see a lot of Westerns. But then, not a lot of Westerns play anymore. I thought about this when watching it, the way the Western was the basis for modern American mythology in the 20th century -- we actually had a segment on it in the Mythology class I took in college. It was our second-to-last subject in that class, the last being Star Wars (which of course is really just a Western in space). I feel like, now, the 21st-century equivalent to the permeating presence of Westerns in the last century is superhero movies. A segment focusing on superhero movies would now actually be an appropriate closer to a college Mythology course.
Westerns never work in the most tradition sense anymore, of course -- cowboys and Indians, the former always heroes and the latter always villains. For a Western to work now, there has to be acknowledgment of real American history in the Old West, and that means true brutality on both sides, with the added heaviness of outright genocide on the part of white Americans. Hostiles never directly addresses genocide, but it certainly explores race relations between white people and Native Americans, which is largely informed by such things. It's a complex story sometimes marred by contrivances, but I would definitely still recommend it. I was impressed by it.
Also, it's only the fifth movie I've gone to see so far this month -- and, thus, so far this year. My January 2018 is quite unusually slow-going for my movie-going. There just isn't very much that looks worth going to see, is the thing. I typically tell people I see two to three movies a week, which is usually true. My average for the past four weeks has barely been more than one a week. Hopefully it picks up again soon, but I'm not going to go see movies I know I won't like very much just to increase the numbers.
You may have noticed there was no regular Daily Lunch Update (DLU) yesterday -- because I took the time instead on my annual analysis of the Academy Award nominations. I spent quite a bit of time on that, and there was no time left for a regular journal entry. Not sure it matters much; I just spent Monday evening at home with Shobhit, making a lentils and beans and rice dinner and watching a couple episodes of season two of Fargo, which gets better as it goes along, and it was great to begin with. I'm so glad I finally got around to watching that show.
Last night was a bit different for two reasons. First, I left work at 4:05 so I could check in at 4:45 at Virginia Mason Medical Center for my 5:00 appointment for my annual physical -- with, yet again, a new doctor. This guy is who Shobhit saw when he last went to the doctor, and he recommended both of us stick with him as our new primary care physician. Dr. Ghosh, who has been on maternity leave, will be back for like a month and then she's apparently moving to California. I told this new guy that I'm learning the downside of primary care in urban settings, because people keep moving on. He said, "Well I promise you I'll be here for a while.' Yeah, well. That would be wonderful, but: we'll see about that. I sure would like to have just one doctor for an extended period of time.
Like Dr. Ghosh, he seemed very young to me -- possibly even younger, based on his looks. Near the end of the appointment I said, "I want to ask you a question. How old are you?" He replied, "Sixteen." Ha! Then he said he's 32. Okay, so he's actually the very same age as Dr. Ghosh -- he said they even graduated in the same class. I then said, "Getting older is not my favorite thing." This turned into a brief conversation about how both he and I still have a lot of years to go, which I suppose is true. Although he's got about a decade more to go than I do, statistically speaking.
One new thing with this guy: he introduced himself not as "Doctor Last-name," but as simply "Brandon." Must be a generational thing. I'm not used to addressing doctors by first names, although I will easily get used to it pretty quickly -- God knows, I refer to everyone else I know by only first names, regardless of context, and it's been that way for many years. Seattle is a very casual city.
I even thought he was kind of cute. Although I certainly wouldn't be able to prove it by referring to his web page at Virginia Mason, at which his photo makes him look way goofier than he did in person. Far more importantly, as annoying as it's been to have the last two doctors move on in their careers in relatively short order, I have a better feeling based on first impressions of this doctor than I've ever had of any other. He displayed a level of understanding not quite shared by the previous two -- who were fine, but especially with the first one, there was always a slight, vague awkwardness. Brandon had the best bedside manner and effortlessly put me at ease. He even managed to make the anal swab less awkward. I mean, there's no way that's ever not awkward, but he was the most clear about what he wanted me to do and when. With the last doctor, I would pull my pants down and sort of lean forward while standing over the cot thing; Brandon had me lay on my right side on top of it, and he even said "Everything looks perfectly normal" when, you know, poking around back there. Bottom line, whether it was during an exam or during fairly personal conversations, this guy always made me feel comfortable. That seems to me to be a pretty important thing for a doctor.
There was a questionnaire that included questions about alcohol consumption, and there were only follow-up questions if I had more than seven drinks a week. I drink pretty frequently but don't think I have more than that on average. Still, when it came up in conversation, I felt obliged to make sure he understood that it did not mean I don't drink at all, and do drink pretty frequently. I've just never specifically tracked it. When we both came to the conclusion that I probably hover right around that seven-drink average mark, but definitely am not dependent on alcohol, he made it clear that I really have no reason to be concerned about it. And I'm only mentioning that here because I have it on the authority of my actual doctor, and maybe Shobhit will finally shut the fuck up when he tries to tell me that just because I have a higher tolerance than he does, somehow that makes me an alcoholic. He really doesn't understand what that word actually means, he makes no effort to recognize that, and it drives me crazy. But now at least I can tell him my doctor himself said I'm fine!
I came home to find Ivan had taken the one "personal day" employees apparently get every year where he works -- and he can only use it before he's put in his notice, which he plans to do on Friday. So, I spent the evening with both Shobhit and him, and we all watched my Netflix copy of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is way too long and surprisingly weird, like Mary Poppins on acid, especially in the second half. Ivan said he watched it many times as a kid, so he seemed to have a sort of nostalgic appreciation for the movie, which I honestly don't think he'd ever have if he were watching it for the first time as an adult. He was especially amused by the Child Catcher character, who I've found online apparently scared many people as kids. The guy doesn't even appear until at least two thirds of the way through the movie, and doesn't actually have a huge amount of screen time. I did say, "That guy looks like he's on the local sex offender registry." Ivan replied, "To say the least."
Before watching the movie, Shobhit and I made Tandoor Chef pizzas with added toppings, and tater tots, for dinner, and also chai for all three of us. Actually I did most of the prep for all of the above. While I was chopping vegetables, I asked Ivan if he's booked his flight out yet, and now I know he has -- there's no question now, he's leaving town for Barcelona the afternoon of Valentine's Day, February 14. Two-week rail tour from Barcelona to Marrakech starting February 18; then he's spending a couple of months traveling through Eastern Europe. I got the specific(ish) return time only last night, that he plans on returning in May, at which point he will finally move to Vancouver, B.C. I fully intend to visit him there sooner than later, which I have frequently made abundantly clear. In any case, this means in all likelihood, the last time I see him will be February 13. It's going to make me sad that day -- which is better, I suppose, than on Valentine's Day, which would make things weird on a day I should be totally focused on Shobhit. Coincidentally, I made Valentine's Day dinner reservations with Shobhit at The Marrakesh restaurant downtown. That was where he finally decided he wanted to go for dinner on Valentine's Day this year.
I was supposed to post this like an hour ago -- I had it ready -- and then I spaced it! I had to go into an all-Merchandising department meeting. They provided lunch and I had a super delicious sandwich; I guess Darrell was really concerned about my vegetarian needs, which was sweet. They had Field Roast slices for my sandwich. I'm not sure anyone else even had any; I took four of them for my sandwich just so a good chunk of it would get used.
Anyway, a big purpose of the meeting was as a thank-you for a very successful 2017, which I don't think I was nearly as big a part of as people in actual leadership positions, but whatever. Darrell put us all on the spot and had us all take turns saying what we were most proud of from the past year, and my response was the least specific, since I had less direct involvement in specific projects other people kept mentioning. So I said, "The best I can come up with is maintaining really good relationships, both with coworkers and outside contacts, is something I have always been proud of." The room actually seemed to rather like that answer. I almost added, "Everybody loves me!" but I decided against it. I was unusually nervous giving my answer, mostly because I hate being put on the spot like that -- it's not just talking in front of a group. It felt a lot like when everyone at Thanksgiving is asked to take turns saying what they're thankful for, which I never really like having to do either.
That said, after I spoke, Darrell mentioned how many times Scott and Noah and Kevin have said "We couldn't have done this without Matthew," which was certainly not something I expected to have someone say in front of the group -- the kind of specific, personal compliment only one or two other people even got during that meeting. Justine even went out of her way to commend Kibby and me both, "the Merchandising Specialists team," and said she may not say how much she appreciates us as she should -- and I'm like, I never, ever feel unappreciated here! Seriously, don't worry about not complimenting me enough. I tell people regularly how valued I feel here, and it's awesome.
[posted 1:41 pm]
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