Friday, July 31, 2015

An Offer I Can't Refuse



I assiduously avoid the basement area which was remodeled earlier this year with the comfort of visitors in mind. While I am in NY Joe Workforce's summer plan to remain in Redlands fall through. He is all moved in back home by the time I return. I am home for just about two weeks with him and Girlfriend In-Law before I leave for England. Girlfriend In-Law leaves for Prague on the same day I return from England. Now, for the first time since before the birth of Spuds, it is just Him and Myself and our first born. I caution my son that the first job after college will be extremely hard to land and undoubtedly menial and beneath his perceived station. The boy however is hired in a management capacity after his first interview. The boss turns out to be a handful and there is little intersection with the boy's real interests so he applies for other positions. He is interviewed twice by a film lab I do business with. Ultimately, someone already intimately familiar with their software is hired instead but it comes back to me that the lad has made a great impression.

He applies for a position in the audio restoration department of one of the industry's largest lab and post production facilities. I imagine it is a real long shot and am pleasantly surprised when he is called back for a second interview. We are all over the moon that he is actually offered the position and starts there next week. The boy is not at all smug about having disproved my theory as to the inevitability of difficult to land, shitty first jobs.

I have some oral surgery this week and return home still quite sedated. I discover some correspondence I'd completed while under the influence that I have no memory of writing. I am surprised and relieved by the cogency. After I've poured my coffee and I realize my computer is not in its place. I venture to the basement, for the first time since the prodigal's return. Messy would be an understatement. I wake the boy and he assures me that my laptop is not under his rubble. I locate my laptop in my own bedroom and try to decide how I should feel about the condition of my son's quarters.

I was on about the same messy trajectory when I was in my twenties. Close friends automatically volunteered to come clean my place before any party. When I lived at home with my neat-aholic mom the chaos of my belongings was a constant source of friction. I realize now that every garment I threw on the floor was a slap, a reminder to her of my lack of respect for her support and subsidy. But I was too self centered and immature to empathize so it's hard for me to blame my own kid for just doing what most kids do. Still, what is it to fold a load of laundry or throw one's dirty underwear into the perfectly adequate hamper that your mother has provided?

During dinner Joe Workforce tells a guest about his new job and describes how satisfactory it is for him to live at home. I am not particularly happy when I learn of his plan to return. It is quite an adjustment to have him back at the ranch. He comes home very late. He won't abide the spartan vegetarian meals I'm used to making for just the two of us. Sometimes he disconnects the TV in order to watch something from his computer and forgets to reconnect it. His clothing is removed from the dryer garment by garment as needed for wearing. I focus a lot about the extent to which my style is being cramped but I realize too what genial company the kid can be at this phase of his life.

Joe Workforce does make an effort to confine his clutter to his sleeping area. He supplies his own beer for the most part and even shares it with us. And he as been better about turning off lights. Himself has a particularly heavy workload, and even when this isn't the case, has a minimal television endurance. The boy however takes after me and appreciates a lot of R&R (Remote and Refrigerator). He turns me on to a lot of indie stuff that doesn't make my radar. I share with him stuff that I find seminal and we discover what has stood the test of time and what is hopelessly dated and no longer relevant. He asks if I want to watch The Godfather and I agree. I saw the whole Godfather Saga about fifteen years ago and have little memory of the free standing Part One, which I don't think I've seen since its release in '72 when I was fifteen.

The page, from the paperback edition of the novel that circulated at my junior high, that was dog-eared had the scene of the legendarily well endowed Sonny loudly schtupping a bridesmaid against a door. The most vivid scene from the film I guess is the bloody horse head on satin sheets. Everyone's favorite line is “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” The Nina Rota score is often evoked as a shorthand to suggest the Italian Mob or sometimes more crassly just to suggest Italians. But in context the combination of menace and solemnity makes it one greatest scores in film history. So often, now that everything is high def, even the most accomplished cinematography from another era seems almost crude. The restored version of the 1972 film makes clear the sharp, masterful work of cinematographer Gordon Willis.

The screenplay is a collaboration between the novel's author Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola had originally turned down the project and only accepted it because his finances were precarious. The transition from novel to screenplay is remarkable. The first hundred pages of the novel are dispatched incredibly efficiently in the first ten minutes of the film. The next 165 minutes maintain the brisk pace. Not a single frame of the three hour film is extraneous. Other of my teenage favorites haven't worn so well but it is great to share The Godfather with the kid. I imagine that it will always be considered among the greatest films ever made. It's nice to have made a big dent in the “best of” lists with my son.

It's been nearly two weeks since I returned to husband and son. When Girlfriend-In-Law is here there is a tacit regulation to remain polite. Now that it's just the three of us there is a long history of incivility. At first I have my hackles up expecting strife and disruption when stripped of the need to maintain decorum for Girlfriend's sake. But there's been a lot more quality dinner conversation than there has emotional pandemonium. I know that the boy will and should move on but at least today, it is actually quite cool to watch him transition to full throttle adulthood and keep me company on the couch.