Sunday, March 04, 2007

Fake Herzog Anecdotes

"After Lena and I unpacked our boxes, we set about arranging the furniture. Lena had a picture of her family from Siberia and my picture of my dear mother--these were to be the anchors of our new home. Also a woolen blanket that the man who played Huerequeque had given to me upon completion of Fitzcarraldo. (Lest I mention, that this trifle token of affection moved me deeply.) There were problems from the start. Lena and I rarely argue, we don't so much as talk, as I can tell what she is thinking--I can see through her like I can see through a tub of dishwater. But there was something different this time, I could tell. I said, "Honey, dear, what's the problem? You have to communicate with me!" My wife said, shyly, "Werner, I am unhappy with our sofa. We need a new one. And that TV set--we have the money, why can't we buy a Hi-def?" I bit my lip. "Did I mention that I didn't make a phone call until I was eighteen? Do you know what my mother did to feed her starving children after our father abandoned us?" Calmly, collected, coolly, Lena said in a icy Siberian whisper, "You forget who you have married. You're going to compare family histories? I'll match yours point for point--don't pull that sob story on me. I'm Siberian, I know who I married. I know how many movies you made. How many bullets you've dodged. But I'm still your wife. And we need a new sofa and I want a new TV!" Yes I stared down Kinski, and the guns of an elite Central African Guardsman, and an active Volcano, but I always find the inner strength of women beyond those earthly hazards. Man's soul versus woman's soul is the eternal struggle of God and Satan. Which is God and which is Satan--I couldn't tell you. It is just a feeling that is hard for me to articulate, and would even be beyond my powers to capture on film. Onward, though, I stubbornly persisted: "No new TV! This one still works fine. Last year my friend Harmony bought us the DVD player--and we have all of Kurosawa--we live like the Mycenians! How much more do you demand! And this sofa works fine! There are no more sofas like this in the world! It is a truly fine and good sofa!" Lena would not relent, however. And I was discomfited by my loss of composure. Lena was one of the few human beings on the world who could do this. And that thing inside me that I listen to told me that the moment I lost my composure was the moment that I had lost the battle. We were going to buy a new sofa. We were going to buy a new TV set. I don't know what I did in those next moments...the whole world quaked and I seemed to have lost my sense of sight even. What happens next I can't even explain--but I felt as I did so many years ago in the field of windmills. Just an ecstasy--The illusion that is LA and George Bush dissipated and I saw myself as a man with a cigarette and a typewriter, writing soap operas for a Spanish speaking audience. Would I trade everything I had experienced up until now in exchange for that humble life? I don't know. But not my Lena. I thank God on my knees for that momentary insight. I'm sorry if this anecdote has no end. I only see the beginning of it--but it is so clear that I had to share it."

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