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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Gram And Dracula

I've been going through one of those cycles lately that I think affect everyone's life from time to time. One of those parcels of your life that just seem to have one piece of stress after another. The car needs to be repaired. All of your other bills need to be paid as usual. Your body just doesn't want to be cooperative - you wish you had the energy, or felt well enough, to do something, anything, for a change of pace, but you just can't. And then a member of your family up and dies on you and things get really strange. What you really need at times like these is the equivalent of a reset button, something that can just make you stop for a moment, catch your breath, and move on. Having it make you smile or laugh would be even better. 

I'm not here to complain, but that's where my life has been lately. Stress and not-quite-feeling-good has made just keeping up with the everyday a bit of a challenge. I am ashamed to admit that I even went ten days without writing a blog post. The few moments I felt inspired, I didn't have the energy to run with any ideas, brilliant or otherwise, and bring them to fruition. And then, amidst all of the other happenings in the world this week, my sixty-two-year-old brother decided to lay down for a nap and quietly slipped away from this world. And so it goes. I needed to hit my reset button, and do so as soon as possible.

I was almost mindlessly looking at social media posts when something from one of my friends caught my eye. It was a fairly simple post, a still from the movie Dracula, AKA Bram Stoker's Dracula, from 1992. My friend Will was letting people know that he was watching and enjoying the movie last night. If you don't remember, this is the version that features the incredible Gary Oldman as Dracula, and the cast includes the also-incredible Sir Anthony Hopkins. It is my favorite version of the story to date, and emphasizes the romance between the Count and Mina.

Suddenly I felt my face doing something really cool. I was not just smiling, I was grinning! You may think this is a strange reaction to a vampire love story, but let me explain myself. When the movie was in the theaters, I just went to see it by myself rather than try and find someone who could see it with me on my odd schedule of working two part-time jobs. So there I was, watching a matinee with only one other person in the theater. It was almost like one of my dreams had come true and I had my own movie theater. I enjoyed the movie immensely, and I remember telling Gram some things about it when I got home, and sharing how much I had enjoyed the film.

Of course when the movie came out on VHS (this was a few years before the birth of the DVD) I had to rush out and buy it. When I brought it home, I did what I always did whenever I bought a new movie. I asked Gram if she would like to watch the movie too. We enjoyed many a movie together, lying on her bed and watching them on her tv. This happened to be one of the times that she said yes, she would like to see the movie. I panicked a little bit; the movie was rated R, and I didn't want her to be offended. 

I decided that I might as well be proactive. Better to warn her than to have her decide in the middle of the movie that she didn't like it. I think I forgot for a minute who I was dealing with. After all, this was a woman whose father immediately went out and purchased any book that was banned by the Catholic Church, and had his daughter Bessie read it to him. He had suffered an eye injury working in a mill as a child, so he couldn't see well enough to read the small print in most books. So she had read books like The Sheikh when she was in her teens. Silly of me to forget that. I sort of sidled up to the subject. "Now, Gram, this story has some sexual situations. I thought you should know about that."

Gram looked at me, her eyes dancing. She answered in a very studied, bland tone, "Oh, wow. The story of Dracula has something to do with sex. I would never guessed that Dracula had anything to do with sex." She had done it again, stopped me in my tracks. We both laughed heartily and settled down to watch the movie. As usual, she watched part of it with her eyes closed, AKA napping. But she did enjoy it. When I saw the picture from the film I was immediately transported to that moment when I tried to protect Gram from being shocked at an R-rated movie, and she turned the tables on me. Just when I needed it the most, Gram, and Dracula, managed to set my reset button and give me a much-needed laugh. Thanks to both of them. I really needed that!