Casablanca

Casablanca 8‘Casablanca’ begins with the entry credits overset on a map of Africa, music of a political fight accompanies.  Director Michael Curtiz gets his credit and then we hear this voiceover:

…And so a torturous, roundabout refugee trail sprang up.  Paris to Marseilles, across the Mediterranean to Oran, then by train or auto or foot across the rim of Africa to Casablanca in French Morocco.  Here, the fortunate ones through money or influence or luck might obtain exit visas and scurry to Lisbon, and from Lisbon to the New World.  But the others wait in Casablanca, and wait and wait and wait.

Lou Marcelle, who narrates this opening, finishes that last “wait” perfectly, as if he was cut off prematurely, not allowing us to hear the many more “waits” he spoke. It relays that metronomic, drawn-out feeling–dah, dah dah, dah dah, dah dah….  You can almost waltz to it.  But it feels heavy and never ending.

As we get closer to our due date, my wife and I, I start to get excited about the ‘me’ now, before the baby comes, and how that ‘me’ is going to experience all of this.  I’m interested in how that ‘me’ will respond to it all, as a son, as a husband, as a worker, as a writer, an artist.  As terrible as September 11th was, is, I always awaited what came from it artistically.  Artists, in all forms, respond to the world around them, the pluralistic worlds of various proximities.

And now I wait for a huge happening to the very near world around me.  A friend of mine once said, “I do not yet know how to live in the world.  But I’m alive.”  I heard this almost ten years ago and always thought how perfectly applicable this was while, dualistically, wondering in what regard, on what level, it was applicable.  I think it works in many ways at different times to the many worlds that we live in.  Soon, I’ll start to figure out how to live in the world as a father, I’ll learn what ‘me’ I’ll become.  But for now, I sit in this neutral land with anticipation and wait and wait and wait…

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