Sunday, July 15, 2007

Watching a movie with my son

Just watched Pleasantville with Son in Ohio. For anyone who hasn't seen it, or needs a refresher, here's a description of the ending...

The movie is overflowing with symbolism from its beginning with the classic line ...Once Upon A Time to the movie ending with Betty and George Parker sitting on a park bench pondering what their next move should be. The camera focuses on George, who asks the question and then pans over to Betty who wonders the same thing. When the camera pans back over for the response from George, it is the Ice Cream Shop owner, Mr. Johnson, with whom Betty has an affair with over the course of the film, whom has unexpectedly taken George's place and he too wonders what's next. And with that, the film fades to black.

Whenever I watch anything with Son, he asks a lot of questions. He does a lot of rewinding, because he has a hard time moving on if he feels like he's missed something. So, when the ending was coming, remembering that Demetrius and I had watched that and said, "Whaaaaa?", I mentioned "The ending that's coming--I don't get it either."

But I'd forgotten (for a moment) that Son has a degree of face blindness. Nothing at all struck him as odd about the ending, because he hadn't noticed that the man Betty was sitting with and talking to changed from one male character to another. He had to rewind and look again, and then he saw it--and laughed. But only because I was sitting there with him, having told him there was something odd about the ending.

My point, I guess, is that my firstborn is a fascinating human being. If I wanted to get all deep about it, I could wander off into some musings about how none of us really has a clue what the world looks like to the person with whom we are interacting at any given moment. How several people can be looking at the same thing, but seeing that thing in very different ways. I know that I have to keep this in mind, because my son has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. But how often do we assume a shared reality between "normal" people, when in fact it doesn't exist.

A woman's face? Or a man playing a saxophone? You're both right!