Saturday, September 22, 2007

On A Clear Day

Tonight, GK and I watched a film called On A Clear Day. It’s a story, on the surface, about a man attempting to swim the English Channel from England to France. When I told Kristy the plot before watching it she asked why I like movies like that. I’d never really thought about it before, but I suppose I do enjoy a story about someone who is attempting something that seems impossible, whether circumnavigating the globe solo, cycling through the Alps, diving to new depths or swimming a large body of water. These are stories of accomplishment, and whether the person attempting actually succeeds or not, he’s taking on a challenge. I’m not sure why this resonates with me. Perhaps because I’ve never committed to anything in that way, not just a supreme physical feat like running an ultra-marathon, but something more within my grasp like refurbishing the Honda Rebel that’s sitting in my garage, building a boat or running 26.2 miles. Something that, though it isn’t necessary for life, really is so for living. I go to work in the mornings but at the end of every workday, of every six-day workweek, everything I’ve spent my time and effort on is, quite literally, up in smoke. I can’t hold something in my hand and say, “Look at this. This is what my skills and my knowledge made today” and that’s something that I think I would like to be able to do. I admire anyone who sets out to accomplish a thing, perseveres, and has something to show for that effort.

On a Clear Day is the story of Frank, a middle-aged man who has lost his job and is unsure of what to do with his life. He sets out, with a group of close friends as trainers and advisers, to swim the English Channel. But there’s more to the story than just training for a grueling swim. It’s the story of a man and his pride, a father and son, grieving, a husband and wife and that woman’s independence, boat building, human worth, accomplishment, failure, and GK was pleased to find that it even has a nice little homage to Jaws. It’s a delightful movie.

When I got the DVD from NetFlix, it was damaged and halfway through became unplayable, so I sent it back. They sent me a new copy immediately and we made it through the 99-minute movie. So there you go, sometimes my tenacity pays off.


hamlett said...

good morning Urf!
your post made me think about that documentary series with ewan mcgregor called "the long way round." did you see that one?
he and a friend go around the world on motorcycles, it's pretty great, makes you appreciate paved roads.
you can netflix it.

Sweet Sassy Molassy said...

I find these stories to be about people who can't function in life or appreciate the beauty of the everyday, so they seek escape by spending all their time and energy on an essentially meaningless task while allowing the real stuff to pass them by, unheeded. It's the opposite of Zen.

Secret Agent Mom said...

If that makes Rudy the opposite of Zen, then I am one Buddha-hating bitch.

Kristy said...

Because...that guy was destined to be an amazing professional athlete with a long and fulfilling career? Could all that determination could have been put to more productive and meaningful use?

katherine said...

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!