mexico city's international film festival kicked off yesterday with movies on big screens all over the city, so patricio and i got in on some of the action by heading to polanco and paying a few pesos to see a couple of films. wednesdays are two-for-one at all the cinemex theaters, which meant a serendipitous and beautiful bargain. by the end of the evening, our hearts had been broken by brokeback mountain, and our souls had been virtually sucked dry by the portuguese magic mirror. we stuck our tongues out with disappointment at that second choice, but the first more than made up for it. i wasn't surprised to find that the screenplay was based on a story by annie proulx; she is a national treasure of a short story writer. and that, married to the music of gustavo santaolalla, set a foundation for a movie that's worth the time to both see and suffer through. i still feel my chest and throat tighten with sadness when vignettes of the film slide into my mind's eye. but i did discover a surprise bonus in the inexpensive visual trip to the place where i came into the world. riverton is one of the closest towns to lander, where i was born, and seeing the west on a giant screen stole my breath and replaced it with bittersweet nostalgia. in every possible way, the movie made me ache.
in the time between screenings, we decided to take a coffee break, and set out in search of a table and caffeine. neither of us being in the mood to spend a lot of time searching, starbucks ended up fitting the bill. now, until last night, my idea of starbucks was this: a good place to meet up for a warm drink after work, and the best place after barnes & noble to go to the bathroom. predictable, dependable, and ubiquitous.
not so in polanco. the place was a social scene like i've rarely seen, leaving me feeling like i'd been swept through that looking glass into a starbucks of some other reality. high heels, flawless manicures, expensive purses, and lipstick that never seemed to disappear on the rims of coffee cups. there was a maltese dog the size of a grapefruit wrapped in a pink pashmina. there were metrosexuals conducting business meetings. there were also a few super boob jobs.
even the hipsters walked with a supermodel strut.
i hadn't felt more like an adolescent since, well, since i was an adolescent. which means i was aware of how i didn't fit in, was pretty sure i didn't want to anyway, but still felt self-conscious about my t-shirt and jeans i'd worn the day before, and my black flip-flops that i've been sporting around because, sad to say, i have a fungus on my little toe. i was unmoored and confused at my inability to be comfortable with myself, so i can't tell you how happy it made me feel to see one of those uber-eyelinered women with a million dollar coiff picking her nose while she waited to go to the restroom. in short, it was a low moment for me.
but i managed to get over it (mostly), forcing myself back through the looking glass into reality and remembering that we're all woven out of the same material, and are all trying to figure out where we fit in. especially after having seen ang lee's film about our right to be ourselves in the world, whether others like it or not, i felt myself peering over my coffee cup a lot less critically and a good deal less intimidated. i hope i learned my lesson well; we're going back this afternoon.