Tuesday, January 06, 2009
The streetlamps hold up taut gauzy tents of incandescence at night in the thick fog that comes in off of the Pacific. I'm unaccustomed to the cold still, even this milk toothed California cold.
I heard a story about a troop of Boy Scouts years ago. I always resented the Boy Scouts, because the domesticated and diluted camping that the girls got. In the story, the troop arrived at the campsite late, and it was snowing heavily. Most of the boys were handicapped by the cold, chattering and shivering, incapable of erecting the tents and lighting the fires needed.
One boy, though, worked quickly and efficiently. He was the same size as most of the other boys, and wore similar clothing. An adult asked him how he was able to work so efficiently in the cold. "I accept the cold." he said.
One of my studio mate's grandfather was in "Lawrence of Arabia." That's the sort of information, one's relative being in one of the most famous and influential films ever made, that is commonplace and told offhand here. I'm re-watching it for the umpteenth time, all four plus hours of it including the overture, in segments.
There's a scene near the beginning of the film that I would mentally refer to all through my adolescence. Lawrence lights another soldier's cigarette, and then snuffs out the match with his fingers. The soldier becomes a background character and Lawrence speaks with a higher ranking official. The soldier toys with a match, and tries to replicate the action of snuffing it out with his fingers. "Ouch, it hurts!" he says. Lawrence says "You ignore the pain."
That's how I recalled the scene. But I was incorrect; all those years a false reel was projected against the inside of my skull. What he says is "The trick, Potter, is not minding that it hurts."
Incidentally, T. E. Lawrence did not smoke.
Posted by Camilla Taylor at 12:48 AM