Yesterday, while I was walking along False Creek, a pigeon took a dump on my Dodgers jersey. In the moment, I was miffed. I wanted to execute the bird but I quickly came to the conclusion that it would solve anything. So, instead of sightseeing and scouting in my future home, I was in a Richmond, BC laundromat washing my jersey amongst other clothing items that probably should’ve been washed alongside it. There were quite a few people in there washing and drying and folding laundry. It was a great atmosphere though…good selection of films and television shows that could be viewed on the 12 screens located throughout, a mini-arcade, really good vending. It even had a sitting area where you could eat comfortably. This was arguably the best laundromat I’ve ever been in. The limited interactions I had were pleasant too. It was in those interactions that 2 things happened that made writing this post relatively easy: (1) a couple of college-aged women struggling with folding a fitted sheet until I offered a brief tutorial and (2) a man nod I got from one of the other patrons. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Love, Sex & Eating the Bones.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across the film in September 2004, when I saw it on Black Starz! during my late Saturday night film watching. It was a nice, little Canadian flick…an independent urban film. It had a couple of names I knew: Hill Harper from Loving Jezebel and Kardinal Offishall, a Canadian rapper who had a signature reggae-dancehall style in the late 90s and early 2000s. I figured I had nothing to lose in watching.
What it meant to me then? The film was really good. Actually, it was fantastic in my book…good enough for me to cop the DVD, which still has a place in my library today. I felt like I had a lot of things in common with Hill Harper’s Michael Joseph character. Though he’s a security guard for a parking deck, his passion was photography and his struggle was pornography. He was really just trying to find his way with a woman who may have normally been out of his league. At the time of my first viewing, I was a civil engineer in the Air Force but my passion was—and still is—writing while my struggle was my never-ending thirst to be close to women…often those who would have normally been out of my league. I also had a mild struggle with porn, too. The film also somewhat endeared me to a specific type of woman. Marlyne Afflack’s Jasmine LeJeune character was an advertising executive. She made far more money than Michael, lived better than him, and her social circle was more sophisticated…but she gave him a chance. I wrote a blurb on the film in Triumphs & Tribulations IV about how I should give women who worked in white-collar professions some run. That was mostly on the strength of how Jasmine treated Michael in the film. Crazy that’s how my 19-year-old brain actually thought then. Oh yeah…how can I not like a film that has Dawn Penn’s “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” in it?
What it means to me now? Today, I watch the film maybe once or twice a year. I think it’s a film every couple in my immediate demographic—black, urban, late 20s-early 30s, professional—should check out. I think there are quite a few poignant moments in the film that touch me even when I see it today…some 10 years later. I think about the “brother’s nod” scene, where Michael teaches Jasmine the art of the subtle gesture of acknowledgement shared by black men. I think about Jasmine seeing the photo Michael took of her and rushing down the stairs of her apartment building to catch him before he moves on in defeat. I think about the one scene, where Michael is standing on a street corner and a woman sizes him up in passing…leaving him with the “clicker” reaction. Something about those scenes resonate with me and they are why I continue to keep this film on my watchlist year after year.