It’s not often I’m provoked to think of my days since, from a recent flick. Typically a song might conjure emotions from a significant moment; a picture will incite reminiscing memories from times past; or a long lost friend will rouse me to think of “the good old days.” But a movie? Never!
Some time ago I went to see “The Silver linings Playbook,” starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Admittingly, the factor that drew me in was the hunky and charming, blue eyed babe Mr. Cooper – and yes that it appeared to be a classic chick flick! But after watching the plot I left with a number of thoughts.
One being Cooper and Lawrence are far too far apart in age to be stage mates. Two being that I was pleased to see REAL struggle and tragedy in a main stream movie I wasn’t expecting; and to see the personal fight of the two lead roles. It wasn’t a typical chick flick – yes the guy got the girl in the end – but for the better part there was real ups and downs, and hard struggle, and it wasn’t pretty. Isn’t that the reality most of us live in too? Real life struggle! Then again thou, aside from all that, I felt nostalgic for my once Philadelphia home – as it’s set in the city of brotherly love!
At the start of the movie there are classic shots of freeway signs and familiar street exits; spans and shots of the center city skyline with its iconic buildings that I often walked by, and all I found myself doing was thinking of my experiences there in the East Coast, in Philly. Riding down 95 to the Sports Complex for a boisterous Phillys game; an iconic Philadelphia pastime! Taking the El (subway/elevated train that runs east and west through the city) through center city and walking through and past the iconic sky scrapers as I meet friends and go about my appointed rounds, run my errands or seek some clarity as I walk the coble stoned streets. Feeling the chill of the autumn and winter air as the seasons change, as I walk or run the lovely Kelly Drive, or quaint sub neighborhoods was always held promise of a picturesque seasonal site. It all was coming back to me: the moments, the memories; the people and the places.
Above all the sites and hot spots of that city, and as I was watching and listening to the actors portray this Philadelphia, I found myself missing the personality of people in Philadelphia the most.
I often will tell people of my time in Philly, and remark how hard edged Philadelphians are; how they’ll just tell it like it is; they’re often and sometimes guarded and difficult to get to know; and sarcasm is common place in conversation. As I was first being aquatinted to this east coast town, I can recall having somewhat of time adjusting to the sense of people. People would often tell me, "you’re so Californian; you’re so easy going and friendly." And I’d intern say, "yea, well how come everyone else around seems so hard to warm up to??" Into and after my second year living my life in Philly, I found myself establishing some more friends and roots; I hadn’t really stopped to think how these hard edge people had decided that I was alright; I hadn't fully acknowledged this till recently.
The truth is Philadelphians are real salt of the earth kind of folk; down to earth, loyal and authentic kind of people. They aren't fake – if they don’t like you, they’re not afraid to make it clear. They’re honest – sometimes to a fault. They’re tough to get to know, (real guarded) but if one befriends you, they got your back! It’s evident they've accepted you when they sarcastically poked fun at you; friendly sarcasm is common place in conversation.
In many ways – as difficult as it was to get use to initially – it did me a world of good! Friends in my home turf at times will say I come off abruptly upfront, or abrasive. Or situations or people don’t get under my skin as much – I’m tougher skinned.
Besides or despite the fact I know I have some pretty loyal friends back East. Like my friend Seth mentioned to me over the phone as I was expressing how much I missed my Philadelphian folks, “even though friends move geographically, really, we aren't going anywhere.” It gives me comfort. I know it to be true too when another close friend – Chris – and I can be real with each other with how things are – on a day to day basis. Or when yet another close friend – Colleen – and I can chit chat, gab, and make light heart of life’s tough situations for close to two hours – I know I’m not going very far from their lives & hearts.
All these memories; all these sites; the people and thoughts cause me to stop and think of what a colorful and exiting life I've lived thus far. In all, I am appreciative. And so, as I think of "the good old days," I also think of the good old days before the Philly old days: my time in San Francisco, abroad, and before that even. The cliché saying rains true: appreciate the moment. And so, even though I miss my former life elsewhere, I have been welcomed with open arms by many a friends and family alike to this new phase of my life; this new chapter in my life. In some time, I’m sure I’ll likely look back and reminisce on this time as well.