Turns out, I’m more curious than vain. I saw Adaptation last night. It had Meryl Streep, Nicholas Cage, Chris Cooper -- how wrong could you go? Meryl was writing a book, Nicholas was adaptating it into a screenplay.
The book was about orchids -- ghost orchids – how a toothless ace horticulturist, Laroche (Cooper), hangs around crocodile-infested swamps to get hold of these flowers that Streep doesn’t particularly care about but is fascinated by how some people – men, Laroche (Cooper) -- can be so passionate about them. Engrossing enough, don’t you think?
Possible that never has a horticulturist on celluloid said something more remarkable than Laroche about orchids:
"Point is, what's so wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. There's a certain orchid look exactly like a certain insect so the insect is drawn to this flower, its double, its soul mate, and wants nothing more than to make love to it. And after the insect flies off, spots another soul-mate flower and makes love to it, thus pollinating it. And neither the flower nor the insect will ever understand the significance of their lovemaking. I mean, how could they know that because of their little dance the world lives? But it does. By simply doing what they're designed to do, something large and magnificent happens. In this sense they show us how to live - how the only barometer you have is your heart. How, when you spot your flower, you can't let anything get in your way."
Streep is stunned when she hears him say this. She plays a journalist doing the article on orchids.I want to be stunned! Why does nobody say such stuff to me, damnit? Anyway, I make a mental note to do a news alert on flowers, because, you know, I'm a journalist... and if I do a story on orchids, Nicholas Cage will woo me. This is my reasoning and such are my cognitive skills. I don’t like his red wig, but once we’re together, I’ll take care of it.
My other tangent: Meryl Streep is me (except I like flowers more than she lets on). Streep doesn’t collect stuff, and is not passionate about anything.
"I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately."
She’s accepted that being a bit disinterested is “part of her constitution”. In my head, a bell is rung. I do a Tom Cruise. I bounce on a sofa and yell: Yes! Yes! Hug me! Lets you and I in our passionless fervour conquer the world together!
But I’m not usually enthusiastic. I could never do a Cruise. I pity Katie.
I get her though, Streep. I get her role. She’s just a writer curious about how other people behave. (I should put this in my About Me). Better yet, I should have put this to my parents when they were worried I was growing up to be a dispassionate plebeian child bereft of ambition, motivation – and, to make it worse -- a gaping hole where should’ve stood an ability to listen. I should’ve told them this, if only I was so clever back then.
They were concerned. They would tell me about how important it was to have a hobby, like my brother. Just fourteen months apart, he was the one with talent and interests. Before girls became an all consuming passion and he morphed into a bit of a butterfly, the boy was besotted with sketching, coins, mythology – always wanting to know more stories about Karan in the Mahabharat, military history, war, Sikh history, Chengiz Khan history - everything that bored me to tears.
Stamps, old coins, calligraphy – his thing, his beat. He was good, too. I loved his sketches; the way he’d draw puny men with toothpick-thin legs and have stubs of hair jutting out of their twitchy knee caps – wonderful comic stuff!
I was less mainstream -- collecting polka dotted silver chocolate wrappers, empty perfume bottles and Big Babol stickers in my abundant free time.
Not only was I
So while my brother would spend hours floating postage stamps in a chilimchi of water to make the glue slip off before he could stick them into his albums, I’d idle about, devil at work, poker face, inventing trivia and convincing him, hey you know what, Scooby dooby doooo, where are youuu... was sung by The Beatles. Really? Yup. He believed me. I rank that as a highpoint of my childhood.
He’s an interested sort of chap. I am the most 5/10 person you know. Turns out, that’s fine. It’s in my constitution. And who am I to argue with ooh, my constitution? I must remember to use that somewhere. The move was ordinary. Towards the end, Nicholas’s twin, Douglas gets shot by a man who then gets eaten up by a crocodile. The screenplay changed my... day. Minus the cocaine, dead marriage and sad eyes, I’m Meryl Streep, baby.