Saturday, February 23, 2013

Que Sera Sera, whatever will P&P

Everyone who lives within a 10-foot radius of the bathroom/shower room that I use probably hates me now. Each and every night when I partake in my daily shower routine, I like to sing a few tunes. Whatever pops into my head, whether I know all the lyrics or can reach the high notes or not, I start singing. It's become an impulse - something I can't control. Showering without my voice feels empty now - like looking at a computer without typing or scrolling; or reading a book without actually flipping the pages. The two separate activities have become intimately linked. I can't separate them anymore.

So yes, that makes me sorry to everyone who lives in an area close enough to the bathroom to hear my warbling.

I think I'm a fairly good singer so I don't feel much shame in doing it. And even if I can't sing a song from start to finish quite perfectly, I enjoy my own attempts. Just hearing the music of my choice is comforting - and there's something about letting the music come from my own mouth which is beautiful and exciting.

This evening one of the songs I sang was "Que Sera Sera."

Whenever I think of this song, I immediately am reminded of a scene from Gilmore Girls in which Lorelai Gilmore is walking on her porch in the early morning and her foot falls through the wood below her. She discovers later that her foundation is falling apart as a result of a termite infestation and it completely rocks her world.

I haven't had a termite infestation lately, so this song continues to consistently put me in a good mood.

Lately I've been trying to find ways to help myself into a good mood when I'm feeling particularly temperamental or testy. One thing that helps, in addition to singing in the shower (and perhaps specifically singing "Que Sera Sera") is watching the movie Pride & Prejudice.

What is it about Pride & Prejudice specifically? For those who have to ask that question, I doubt I could ever make it perfectly clear. It's just something inherent, intrinsic. It doesn't really make sense unless you feel the same way.

Do you have any movies, television shows or songs (or anything else that deals in the realm of art) that turn your whole day around when you watch or listen to them? Do you ever have a moment of anxiety which you know can easily be dealt with by turning on or partaking in some random piece of entertainment?

Well that's Pride & Prejudice for me. Some people listen to a relaxing song. One of my friends told me recently to listen to "Let it Be" because that is his tried and true method toward improving his mood (I'm sorry if you didn't want me to mention that to the world, friend-who-will-not-be-named-for-privacy's-sake). There are songs that inspire certain feelings for me - and others which coincide with feelings I already have - but nothing does what Pride & Prejudice can do.

I love just sitting down and listening to the theme music. I love hearing the sound of rain, the clinking of dinnerware, the sounds of family life in the film. I love the dialogue. I love the style of speaking. I love the cordiality and the classical Englishness of it all.

When I was in Japan a few years ago, the only film I brought with me on DVD was my copy of Pride & Prejudice. I kept it in my laptop bag and whenever I felt like I needed to speak English - and for some reason that feeling came more than you might expect - I would pop in the movie and get just the right sampling of my native tongue.

It was on that trip that I realized what the movie itself meant to me. It wasn't just a link to the English-speaking world, it was also the only film in my entire hoard of DVDs that I always wanted to watch. I would turn it on and not skip over a bit, focusing on little details and big picture details at the same time, enjoying each and every moment. Other times I'd keep it in the background as the most enchanting white noise.

There's something about the writing, the character development, the subtleties of production, the muted colors, the quiet and beautiful soundtrack, the misty air that pervades the entire film. It's so idyllic, so perfect, so romantic.

No matter what mood I'm in, where I'm at or what I'm doing, I will always crave some P & P.

I don't know if this is just an eccentricity or it somehow speaks to how perfect a film Pride & Prejudice is, but either way I'm glad to have found something in my life that even in the darkest of days picks me up and gives me high hopes again.

Is it weird that I sometimes envy Elizabeth Bennet? Or that I idolize Jane Austen and even count her among the most influential individuals in my life? Should I stop wishing I could have a sister and best friend exactly like Jane Bennet? Is it ridiculous that Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy somehow convinces me that not all men are scummy?

All of those things are unorthodox, I'm sure. But I don't think there's anything wrong with them either.

The best thing about an obsession with Pride & Prejudice is that when I'm feeling bummed out, or when I just feel like bumming around, I have it there sitting among my collection as an option for entertainment. At times when things aren't just perfect in my actual life, I need that stability and that comfort.

Tonight I had that in "Que Sera Sera." While I sang in the shower I felt at peace in a way that I haven't for a few days. I loved the sound of my echoing trills in the shower room. It made my tonality sound more beautiful than ever.

I also had a chance to watch Pride & Prejudice, though. And maybe it only takes those two things to set me over the edge, feeling indescribably happy. No matter what my emotions are before, in the instant that I sit down in front of my laptop and pop in P & P, things are different. I'm different.

I'm happier now. I'm ready to relax and take on this weekend without anything but enthusiasm. And I can thank Doris Day and Lizzie Bennet for my positivity.

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