SPOILERS: Paterson, the Jim Jarmusch movie which my sweetheart and I watched Friday evening, is referenced in this post.
Part of me hopes that you were wondering where my ‘gratitude’ post was yesterday. It’s nice to be missed. However, I’m guessing most people were going on about their lives and enjoying the holiday weekend completely unaware. Either way, I appreciate how you spent your day.
Having mentioned to my sweetheart what I was grateful for yesterday, he said last night as we were driving home from a really nice day together that I could write my post last night, and publish it this morning. Then he corrected himself, realizing that would defeat the purpose. Because I wouldn’t likely want to handwrite and then have to type up this article, creating it last night would have meant powering up my computer.
Paterson, the movie, isn’t for everyone. It isn’t a high-powered action film. It isn’t a tearjerker. No lycra or leather-wearing superheroes. It isn’t a big, long guffaw.
However, it is a small and consistent story. And Adam Driver’s performance as a bus driver named Paterson who lives and works in the same city he was born in, and that bears the name Paterson also, is one of the most beautiful, subtle characters I’ve witnessed on screen.
Parts were enjoyable, but there were no big moments that really come at you as an audience member and push the plot along. At points I was waiting for something to happen. Eventually I realized that in a gentle manner, I had been brought in and was side by side with Paterson, experiencing along with him, his day to day, never-changing existence.
Paterson might seem like a very simple man, with little ambition. His complacent reactions to his environment, including the continuous coaxing of his girlfriend who has her own big dreams, could be deemed as him being content.
But I’d like to believe if there were a sequel, we’d see him less okay with how things are and a touch more assertive. I realize though, that is me transferring my feelings as to what a happy life looks like to me onto this bus driver who shares his poems only with his girlfriend.
Maybe that is the brilliance to Paterson. It has a beginning, middle, and an end, but the movie doesn’t tell us everything. The character doesn’t have any lengthy monologues where he jumps up and screams how happy, or how unhappy, he is with how his life is going. He doesn’t put his head down with self-pity and sob, or pull everyone up and tell them how wonderful everything is, regardless their troubles.
We only have what we see in Driver’s subdued, and genuine, never over-the-top reactions to everyone elses woes and dreams. We can use our personal experience and our own imagination to appreciate the story.
One of the ways Paterson is able to remain less affected is his attitude toward technology. He is one of the few people in the United States under the age of 80 who does not have a cell phone.
Paterson explains to his bartender friend that he doesn’t have a cell phone because he doesn’t want to be connected.
Although I appreciate being able to communicate when I need to, and the benefits of being able to pull out my phone and instantly check the weather, the news, the movie listings, my Facebook page, Twitter, my eBay listings, three email accounts, and of course if there are any boots on sale at Nordstrom Rack, how necessary is it on a daily basis? And for some people, countless times per day, probably more out of habit than need, they are pulling their phones out and ‘connecting’.
I did have my phone with me yesterday, but I made the decision to not go on the Internet. I texted only once when my sweetheart needed a message sent to a friend. He was driving, so I sent it for him.
I left my iPad at home. I’d originally brought along my laptop computer since we didn’t know when we left the house exactly what the day would hold and I might want to write somewhere, but I made a decision early on to keep it in the bag in the car.
We took books and went to a park in Denver, sat side-by-side in lawn chairs, had a picnic and read with rock and roll tunes playing from an old radio. We walked hand-in-hand at Cherry Creek Arts festival up and down each booth-lined street enjoying the variety of artists and their unique works. We met some of the artists and we chatted between ourselves at times how various art affected us individually. We sat outside at Bad Daddy’s Burgers in the evening light and chatted and laughed, after we relocated our table from inside to outside, when the perfect table opened up.
We spent the long drive home talking about our own dreams and goals, as we always do. And we talked about how Paterson had stayed with us, and our own appreciation of being able to be disconnected. (We used to text during the day moment-to-moment occurrences, but realized this was overkill. So, now we only text when it’s necessary to be in touch and can relax and enjoy a recap of our days in person.)
As I said, I can appreciate having the technology at my use when I need it, and sometimes not when I need it, but just enjoy being able to see what friends are up to on Facebook, or what is going on in the world. But some days it feels good to make sure I’m not too dependent on my cell phone or computer every second and not need to be connected, and in turn, open myself up to making connections in other ways.
I am grateful for being able to have a day where I detach from technology and connect with the people and happenings immediately in front of me.