This is the ninth installment of Madeline Hall’s column “Weird Love” which discusses the many oddities of affection as they appear in the year after the world didn’t end.
The first time I fell in love with someone was also the first instance that I lost love. I was just shy of 12, and I had fallen in love with a gap-toothed kid with a bowl cut, an aesthetic combination that I hope he grew into or out of. If anything at all was true in the world, it was that I loved him. This knowledge existed in tandem with the understanding that no one else would understand, though. I knew that. I knew that no one could take this blistering feeling seriously, despite its very real burn.
But I didn’t have physical proof that I loved him until my heart broke into perfect halves the day he moved away. It wasn’t until that moment that I understood the extent of my devotion, young as it was. So goes the story of the day I learned that absence made my heart grow fonder – February 27th, to this day, conjures faint shadows of the lamentation I entertained all those years ago.
This is the eighth installment of Madeline Hall’s column “Weird Love” which discusses the many oddities of affection as they appear in the year after the world didn’t end.
Anecdotes have served as the cornerstone to this column, either donated by readers or supplied by my own romantic mishaps. But until this week I had overlooked the best nugget of weird love I knew. In fact, I grew up with this story, a crucial piece in the canon of our family’s personal history that serves well when entertaining others at dinner parties. It is the story of my parents’ relationship, its frightening beginnings, and its eventual manifestations. Spoiler alert: I am born as a result of this union, so you know something went wrong along the way.
My parents fell in love in the 1970s. Now I can assure you, I have a very clear and balanced view of what love was like in the 1970s. It was all key parties and rollerblades with the Velvet Underground on vinyl repeating without cessation (though, if you were unlucky, it could have been the Bee Gees). Love wore wooden beads and understood that there was something sexy-creepy about Henry Kissinger, but it couldn’t quite put its finger on it. And love smelled kind of like patchouli, and an absence of ventilation. Weird love, embodied in an era!
But when I was taught about love as it bloomed in the 1970s, I understood that it started in a psychiatric hospital. My mother, a social worker on a ward, and my father, a nurse in the same hospital, had eyed one another in passing (their words, not mine). There was vague familiarity in the workplace, a glimpse caught in the cafeteria or at collective staff meetings. But their lives were fully thrown together by chance when my mother, attending a patient, was throttled and choked in a private room on the ward. Having upset the patient in some way, my mother was in danger of real damage until my father happened to be walking past the room. Bursting in and wresting the patient from my mother’s neck, my father inadvertently became a savior of sorts, gangly and long-haired and entirely right. More =>>
Durians are large, spiky fruits that typically weigh several pounds. Though they are abundant in Asia, they can be challenging to find in the US and are typically not very fresh.
Frozen durian is surprisingly tasty!
Durian 3: Durian is a popular ingredient in sweets and treats — while I was walking around C Mart Supermarket in Boston’s Chinatown, I saw durians made into sweets and incorporated into “wife cakes,” a type of traditional Cantonese pastry.
This is the sixth installment of Madeline Hall’s column “Weird Love” which discusses the many oddities of affection as they appear in the year after the world didn’t end.
I believe in the principle of full disclosure, occasionally to my own detriment. Owning up to your faults and fears, your secret desires and points of pride, those instances when you break wind – all of these moments and revelations are part of the process of strengthening a sense of basic trust among your fellow human beings. I’ll be the first to admit that my favorite form of stress relief – picking the dust from my laptop keyboard – puts a few innocent bystanders at unease. I’ve gotten odd glances while hunched over my computer, running a pencil along the grooves. But in honesty, it’s all that keeps me from becoming mutinous against my workload and self-destructing. So there’s that. I said it.
I want to believe we are an honest species, at our truest core. But I remember 6-year-old Madeline, who used to compulsively sneak food from the pantry just to see if I could get away with it (sorry Mom). I also remember the deep relationship I developed with the idea of Santa, which as it turns out was all predicated on lies and hurt. The number of times my friends and I have created falsely formal excuses for not being in class, or insincerely informal excuses for not doing our work on a Tuesday night, actively runs up against my desire for a collective sense of responsibility to be honest. There’s a persisting element of concealment that underlies almost every possible relationship, be it platonic or romantic, detached or obsessive.
With that in mind, please consider for a moment the web of lies that is college. While college life embodies an unreality-within-reality type of existence, there can be something to be learned from decidedly collegiate experiences or social phenomena. It is with this noble acknowledgment of how ridiculous – and still reflective of reality – college can be that I turn the scepter of attention to a spectacle currently raging at Tufts that is purportedly “destroying newsfeeds” with alarming disregard. I am referring to the many-headed hydra that is Tufts Confessions.
The charm and wonder that is Jacques Tati has likely not made it’s way to your eyes. This genius – and I mean genius – French director is most well known for films such as “M. Hulot’s Holiday” (1953), “Mon Oncle” (1958), and “Playtime” (1967).
Drawing influence from greats such as Charles Chaplin, Tati focused on action rather than dialogue. In a very Chaplinesque way, Tati used a recurring character in four of his nine feature films. Portrayed by Tati himself, M. Hulot was the trouble making, often confused, and well-meaning protagonist surrounded by a society that was too focused on technology to appreciate one another.
His first film with this character was “M. Hulot’s Holiday”, which presents and interesting blend of silent and modern cinema. Dialogue is sparse, but sound is integral, making an instant and universally understood classic of French cinema. From then on, Tati used his M. Hulot character to further study human interaction and the effect of our surroundings in an ever-evolving society.
He combined social commentary, innovative filming techniques, and dark humor in the grandest of ways. His films are an absolute pleasure to watch. Anyone who can enjoy witty and subtle humor, as well as slapstick will find no other actor, writer, and director as charming as the perfection that was once Jacques Tati.
Here are some examples of his work:
A great scene from “M. Hulot’s Holiday” which shows off Tati’s physical comedy and originality.
This scene from “Playtime” emphasizes the importance of sound effects in Tati’s films. It is the greatest people-watching film of all time.
The components of a scene, in no particular order:
1. A 1950s basement
2. A cat piss-stained rug
3. Wooden paneled walls painted in a shade of yellow called “Marigold”
4. The Exorcist playing on a 17” cathode-ray TV that had seen better days
5. 9-10 odd adolescents
Given these facts, what could be expected to ensue from this disjointed scene is a horror movie in itself. The teens are attacked from the shadowy corners of the basement room (WHY did you look behind that shady door?!), blood splatters the paneled walls and cat piss rug. It could be an utter disaster.
Given these facts, what really DID ensue from this disjointed scene was my first kiss. Fourteen years old, riddled with romantic misconceptions, and — entirely inappropriate — I locked lips with my first kiss while the young actress’s head spun a full 360° on screen. It WAS an utter disaster.