This weekend, as my grandfather and I walked through our fourth museum shop in the National Gallery, we both began to question the civility of the world (he much more so than I). Half the museum was closed for some kind of renovation, but only the wings of art–not the stores or food areas. We were disheartened to find out the once loved tea room downstairs is now a mediocre cafeteria, with mediocre sandwiches and no comfy chairs. In passing yet another sign reading “Closed for installation,” my grandfather quipped, “What are they installing–an ice cream parlor?!” Seemed fitting.
Times like those make me wonder why society has evolved in such a seemingly frivolous manner. We don’t go more than five minutes without staring at a screen (I am the worst offender of this), even going to restaurants with three TV’s in sight…two for each peripheral and one in direct view. The relationships and contemplativeness are lost in an effort to be constantly entertained.
But tonight, I went to a screening of “Casablanca” at E Street Cinema, courtesy of the 20th Anniversary of Turner Classic Movies. TCM has long been a part of my
extended immediate family, and as such, butterflies rose in my stomach as they played a brief look back on classic moments in film. I used to (at the risk of sounding too much like Carrie Bradshaw) think that the movies fed me more than any food, and would refuse popcorn because I couldn’t feel the full effect of the movie with buttery fingers and a slightly sick feeling. Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Ingrid Bergman shaped me so much more than Clarissa or Topanga, for which I am forever grateful. And, luckily, tonights screening reminded me that I wasn’t alone in that, especially since the audience wasn’t filled with a bunch of people who were alive to see Rick’s Cafe Americain in theaters in 1942.
For now, I take heart that those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated, and, well, for these, there is hope.