I had a nasty experience with this film, which came naturally as I saw it the same day that Millicent and I had our first fight. I suppose it was always coming. She’s been speaking to me less and becoming increasingly passive aggressive. She has an elitist demeanour, and I’m only now realising that she’s been judging me. I finally confronted her about it, and the argument quickly spiralled into chaos. Insults were hurled, and some of my contraptions were damaged. It started off[...]
I had a nasty experience with this film, which came naturally as I saw it the same day that Millicent and I had our first fight. I suppose it was always coming. She’s been speaking to me less and becoming increasingly passive aggressive. She has an elitist demeanour, and I’m only now realising that she’s been judging me. I finally confronted her about it, and the argument quickly spiralled into chaos. Insults were hurled, and some of my contraptions were damaged. It started off tame–“self-indulgent”, “arrogant”, the usual lies. I couldn’t endure such silly untruths, so I distracted myself by admiring my nails.
Then, out of nowhere, she called my extremely long fingernails “stupid”. You can berate me all you like, but the moment you attack my fingernails, I will defend my babies so viciously you’ll think I’m a thousand defensive mothers combined. It was just the push we needed to reach the event horizon of fracas. Honestly, it’s the first unpleasant memory I have of her now, and it doesn’t make any sense because we were doing so well with our track record of lovely conversations. We should be able to ride that emotional inertia, but I guess humans are complex animals. I tried to get out. I thought I could escape her by watching a film, but even that failed. The whole day was miserable. As it turns out, Cinema Nova was the only place showing Birdman last Wednesday, and I thought I’d quickly pop into the nearby Woolworths–I could hardly go grocery shopping after I’d seen Birdman.
I was pushing my trolley down the cereal aisle when the rudest woman approached me with furrowed brows. Unprovoked, and with a nasty tone, she accused me of endangering the safety of her children and called me a “self-indulgent wanker”. I knew immediately that she was upset by my fingernails that were hanging off the edge of my trolley. I’m accustomed to feeling ostracised, but this was the first time I’d experienced such aggression. She leaned forward as if anticipating a retort. I didn’t know what to say, and quite frankly, her assumption that I’d have a riposte prepared was both flattering and insulting. I’m not a performing monkey ready to play a warped version of Whose Line is It Anyway? on command. By this point a staff member intervened. Despite his bumbling attempts at diffusing the tension, the woman’s rudeness was unrelenting. I was asked to leave. I’ve already been banned from public transport, and I don’t mind this so much. I recognise it as necessary for the safety of the public, who may incidentally be scratched by a wayward nail. But to be banned from Woolworths feels like a step in the direction of tyranny. With everything I’ve already sacrificed to grow the world’s longest fingernails, I don’t deserve such disrespect.
Like a turd sandwich, my woes were lathered on each side of the temporal experience of watching Birdman. I acknowledge that metaphor doesn’t quite work because it’s the content, not the bread, that defines a turd sandwich, but now is not the time for semantics. After I left the cinema, I headed straight to the next Enamemates meeting, and who do I see but Colin front and centre. He was teaching my fellow long fingernail enthusiasts to balance pieces of paper down the channel of their fingernails to communicate with people from the past. Ostensibly, it takes a lot of training, but the more you practice, the further your fingernails can travel through time. I just couldn’t deal with Colin that day and called him out on his balderdash, until he produced a letter supposedly from 1692. Unbelievably, the author from the past had sent a letter back to him on his fingernail. “Time travel is so cool”, it read. They haven’t replied to his follow up response, but he’s “keenly waiting”, which makes no sense whatsoever because it should show up instantly, as the letter would have already been written and sent off hundreds of years ago. He defended himself with some pseudo-scientific rubbish, but all I could think about was Millicent and our stupid argument.
Life’s too horrible and fleeting to deliberately spend time feeling angry at someone, yet there I was dejected and deeply confused. I think everyone sensed I was distracted, because Chris chimed in with a titbit I had evidently missed which “proves that time travel is real”. Evidently, it was little more than Colin initially misjudging the length of his fingernails. We now “know” his fingernails predate the Big Bang, and he’s been communicating with a specimen who’s living in the final hours before the iconic explosion. Although the “paper is too withered to bring to the meeting”, this chap is apparently spending his final moments alone in a concrete cell. He has in his possession only a pen and some paper (convenient), and a single USB containing photos of loved ones and all his favourite music. He’s forgotten what they look like and how they sound–he only remembers how much joy they once gave him. He holds the USB close to his chest. I walked out in a huff–it didn’t prove anything!
Despite not illustrating Colin’s point, there’s something relatable about USB man all alone in his cell awaiting imminent and perpetual doom. Sometimes I think my memory of what my life once was is the only thing keeping me going. Everything fingernail related has become a joke. Millicent isn’t even attempting to negotiate or engage in any form of relationship diplomacy. Honestly, there’s so much melancholy in my life that I found it difficult to enjoy Birdman. To top it all off, Cinema Nova wasn’t selling my specialty popcorn for people with extremely long fingernails. I was unimpressed.
“At the Movies with Brian Novak” is a movie review column by the fictious Brian Novak, otherwise known as the real James Gordon.