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Archive for December 11th, 2008

Burns the last, of the day down.  I'm the last one, hanging around.  (sorry, I was singing in my head). 

Yesterday I was sick in bed, which sucked.  Even though the idea of spending a rainy day on the pull out sofa watching movies sounds appealing, when you feel terrible, it's really not much fun.  I would have rather been at work.  Honestly.  I'm serious.  But I watched some movies I haven't seen in a while. 

You know how certain movies and songs and books can mean one thing to you at a point in life, then when you go back and watch, listen, read them again, you take away something totally different?

Seven Years in Tibet is a movie I used to LOVE.  It came out when I was in high school, and I watched it repeatedly.  But I haven't seen it since.  Many of the things I liked about it then are the same things I liked when I watched it yesterday.  The desire to climb mountains, the amazing scenery, the fact that Brad Pitt is beautiful (although in real life, seemingly crazy), the allure of the forbidden county of Tibet and the unreachable city of Lhasa, along with the inspiring and captivating story of the Dalai Lama.  But there was one part that touched me yesterday that I doubt I ever took note of in high school. 

When Heinrich (Pitt) and his friend Peter finally (after years of wandering) arrive in Lhasa, they fall in love with the same girl.  Heinrich tries to impress the girl with his scrapbook of accomplishments in the olympics and his impressive summits of mountains.  She replies with – "This is another great difference between our civilization and yours. You admire the man who pushes his way to the top in any walk of life, while we admire the man who abandons his ego."

Heinrich is unfazed by this comment and continues to pursue her by buying her ice skates and showing her how they work (because, although there are ice skates in Lhasa, they have come through trading posts and the Tibetans do not know how to use them).  There is a scene of Heinrich and Peter teaching the people of Lhasa how to ice skate.  In the scene, Heinrich is trying to impress the girl by doing tricks and showing off, saying, LOOK AT ME!  Peter, on the other hand, is not broadcasting his skill, but is instead holding the girl's hand and helping her learn.  In other words, he was paying attention to her, and not to himself.  I don't think I need to tell you who she falls in love with. 

I was struck by these two very different tactics of getting someone's attention, and how much more effective Peter's approach was.  I was also struck by how strongly I want to impress people sometimes, and how off-putting that can be.  It was like watching the kind of person I know I can be sometimes and wish I wasn't, and watching the kind of person I wish I was all the time but sometimes forget to be.  It's like the quote – "There are two kinds of people – those who walk into a room and say – 'Well, here I am!' and those who walk into a room and say, 'Ah, there you are!'"

I also found it interesting that the girl was smart enough to know how each man's approach was a glimpse of his character and to be attracted to the man that was more concerned with her than with himself.  Oh, if we could all be so intelligent. 

My last point about this particular dynamic, is that later in the movie Heinrich visits Peter and the girl once they are married and have moved outside of town.  Heinrich makes some petty jealous comment about their happiness and how he is alone.  And the girl says – "Heinrich, a friend's good fortune is a blessing.  You must be a very lonely person."

It was a good movie.  You should watch it. 

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