I enjoy making coffee. I like the ritual of it, beginning with my bean and roast selection. I once kept an assortment, for I brewed coffee every day at home. My selection now is just a few bags of Peet's French Roast, and a few others. I often just make instant now, for a quick hit, drink tea, or go out for coffee.
I'm not certain when my affair with coffee fell from passion to routine to a memory of a thing I once enjoyed, nor why. Perhaps that making coffee takes energy and time that I'd rather devote elsewhere.
While selecting beans, I decide which brewing method I'll use, the drip electric pot or French press. I decide French press suits today's mood. I grind beans, loving the burst of aroma the ground beans released.
I'm on a conference call as I make my brew but my mind is on "Amour". I saw the French film yesterday. Compelling, this is an unblemished look at a couple in their 80s. Their child is grown and gone from their home, married with her own son. The wife suffers a stroke and the husband, "A monster," as she describes him, "but a kind one," must care for her.
They laugh at her summation, he with some tentativeness. It's a human moment of words and feelings shared and shredded in past years.
I enjoyed the movie for its rich starkness. It is her and him, with outsiders visiting and checking in, but they have limited interest and involvement. Their daughter demands to be involved. She's called and left messages. Her father hasn't returned her calls. He hasn't listened to her messages. "Your concern does nothing for me," he says.
A true point. Concern in these matters is often by the non-engaged, feeling impotent and trying to find solutions. But he has already walked that path. They're walking in his footprints, far behind where he has gone. He can't share with them all the moments that he's already had with his wife, unable to share with them because the telling would be exhausting, and to be so emotionally revealing isn't his nature.
The daughter, son-in-law, and former student are all stricken by his wife's condition. She hates the indignity. She already attempted to throw herself from a window but didn't have the strength and coordination. He hangs on, dealing with life and the others, nursing her, telling her stories, stroking her hand as she repeatedly cries, "Hurt," hoping to bring her back.
When the movie ended, the people behind me said, "That was an odd movie." I thought that a surprising conclusion. My wife enjoyed it but disliked the patient, lingering looks at scenes where nothing happened. I looked those scenes, considering them interlude to think about the situation, a reflection of life, when often there is nohting to do but wait, think and reflect.
The movie began with the couple together at a piano recital. It moved through the return to their home, where the apartment had suffered a break in, to the next morning. There, at breakfast, through mundane routines, we and he experience her first issues from her peripheral artery disease, over eggs, coffee and toast. It's wonderfully acted and directed.
My coffee is ready. Pouring my cup and taking my first taste, I ponder what my life will be like with my wife in thirty years, when we're in our eighties, and who will care for whom.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com