It’s 9:30 a.m. Coffee and water are on the kitchen table along with an empty baby bottle. Last week’s flowers wilt at the stems as pink petals turn pale. High flute notes play from a radio shelved almost out of arms reach. The little one is off for a walk with David, Luke is off at school likely belting out “White and Nerdy” from Weird Al on the playground (or at least I hope that’s the version he’s singing, earlier it was “white and dirty,” and I’m left with an unsettled quiet.
Through the curtain slips, clouds pull across the sun like taut silver balloons. They swell with gold confetti that will shower us on a whim. I fall in and out of daydreams easily given my seven plus months of interrupted sleep. We remind ourselves how temporary it is and well, coffee is a fine antidote to parental “spaciness”.
We drove to southern New Hampshire last weekend for a short getaway and spent the entire time indoors. Both kids were under the weather (one with a head cold, the other with newly sprouted teeth) so we ordered movies and Chinese food in and camped on the couch between naps. The basement double feature was American Hustle (directed by David O. Russell) and Finding Vivian Maier (directed by John Maloof). I liked the story premise and cast of American Hustle, a crime comedy-drama set in the late 1970s about two con-artists who in the course of reinventing themselves, they wind up involved in an FBI sting operation on corrupt politicians including the Mayor of New Jersey. Slow and confusing at times, American Hustle is still a smart homage to American film, you just have to wade through the sluggish plot points to uncover the truth in the end.
With all the buzz around Vivian Maier’s work over the past few years, I couldn’t wait to see this telling film. Finding Vivian Maier is a documentary about a career nanny whose previously unknown stock of 100,000 photographs has earned her the reputation as one of America’s most insightful street photographers. Filmmaker John Maloof traces the story of her secret photographs, homemade films, recordings and collections that were hidden away in storage lockers, and discovered decades later when he purchased an unmarked box of 40,000 negatives at a Chicago auction house in 2007. Since then, Maloof has tried to piece together the mystery of Maier, a woman who spent five decades taking photos that she kept private from the world, through her artifacts and stories told by those who knew her, marginally or more intimately. Maier’s story is undoubtedly difficult to tell and while the film falls prey to mythmaking at times, it succeeds in creating a portrait of an enigmatic figure who escapes anonymity by chance.
The next morning we packed our bags and drove back to Massachusetts, still thinking about the films. This morning, sun broke through without an afterthought. The little one returns. Soon enough the school bell will ring and our house will be filled with the call of the wild.