Most days this week, apart from today, there has been a storm over the sierra. I rather like a thunderstorm, complete with lightning and torrential rain – it is cleansing somehow. Rather like standing on a cliff, staring over the ocean and realising that greater forces are at play than us mere mortals and our ‘little lives’.
For a similar reminder about mortality, triviality and the need not to whinge (it has been said recently that I “drone on and on” about things that annoy me, such as my Spanish tax repayment plan and some web page layouts that are taking forever to ‘design by committee’), I enjoy a true-life disaster movie. After a spell last week watching previously unseen footage of the Twin Towers (cheerful, I know), last night I sat down in front of ‘Titanic’ on Film 4 for the second time round. It has to be said that I’m not a great fan of this Oscar-winning 1997 flick, which was the most expensive film production of all time. So then, with $200 million spent, why isn’t the script better? What nonsense that Kate Winslet spends so much time and effort rescuing Leonardo DiCaprio from the watery lower decks only for him to freeze to death in the ocean towards the end. That aside, what strikes me is the evocative period drama elements of the production and the fact that slithering backwards down the immense deck of a massive steamer ship while its vast bow pokes into the sky because it’s sinking into the freezing water is a tad more dramatic than one’s electricity – and hence broadband internet – going down for 10 minutes because a September storm has caused static electricity in the air. It’s also more dramatic than one’s 19-month-old son having an hour-long screaming fit in IKEA after eating a jelly full of E-numbers (although, let me tell you, this seemed quite a drama at the time) and the recent incident where the cat ate the tapas and we were all chastised in a local bar.
Much as we may moan about our ‘lot’ (well, I hold my hand up to a good old grumble anyway), and bang on about the likes of the damn recession – especially in Blighty, where people love to focus on their collective doom - we simply don’t have the same level of problems as, for example, someone trying to escape from a building that has been hit by a jet plane, or passengers stuck on a sinking ship. And we should remember this fact. It seems that, on the Titanic, the third class passengers – even the women and children – were allowed to drown while others escaped because (a) there weren’t enough lifeboats and (b) they were, well, third class so they were, en masse, handed the ‘short straw’. Imagine if that happened today? There would be an outrage. Methinks these human dramas are good to recall as a ‘coping strategy’ the next time one bickers with a co-parent, has an argument with the customer service staff in a store over a faulty good, loses a desirable parking space to a “sneaky tw*t” or receives a nasty ‘cuenta’ in the post. Life ain’t fair, it has never been fair... but what is “fair” anyway? Or perhaps, all said, I just need to stop watching movies at 2am and get out more. J