Saturday, May 27, 2017


I've been watching more YouTube recordings of Siskel and Ebert At the Movies (while working very hard, I assure you). It appeals to me for all sorts of reasons, right down to the way they talk, move and even dress-- all those cosy sweaters.

There's one part that appeals to me especially; when one of them makes a joke, or a witty comment, and the other one laughs or smiles, almost involuntarily. Because they so often tend to be affectionate sparring partners, these little tributes of spontaneous amusement are particularly touching. It's nice seeing the respect they obviously had for each other.

I love, as well, how familiarly they assume each others' movie knowledge, how familiar they are with each others' views and pet theories, and so forth.

It makes me feel a bit sad, because I've yearned for this kind of camaraderie all my life, but never experienced it. At least, I don't think I've ever experienced. It's true that feeling left out it my natural state, just as Philip Larkin said deprivation was to him what daffodils were to Wordsworth. I remember once lamenting to my office mate, in work, that I'd never shared in the kind of folklore (in-jokes, nicknames, anecdotes, etc.) that I'd always assumed was present, in tropical abundance, in other peoples' lives. He reminded me of all the running jokes and anecdotes the two of us had exchanged. I'd forgotten about that, somehow. (We even have an oft-quoted line from The Office relevant to this subject: "I love inside jokes. I'd love to be a part one some day.")

Just listening to someone talking about something they understand and care about is a pleasure. I love the moment when you realize you've stumbled onto a subject that someone really cares about-- when they start talking passionately about it. It's like emerging from a tunnel into a huge, splendid hall.

(Except if the subject is their kids, of course, or something like that.)

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