OFF THE BLOCK
Taking a break from all of the political banter surrounding the election, I perused the endless amount of useless channels dumped on us from Direct TV. I stumbled upon an Alfred Hitchcock movie that I’d first seen in a literature class in high school. A few years later while in college, I watched it again. This time it was not school related, I just wanted to see it to get some adult understanding. Nearly twenty years later we crossed paths again. Me, James Stewart and Kim Novak would spend another two hours and some change together tonight and it was a wonderful escape from waiting on votes in Pennsylvania to be counted.
If you have not seen Vertigo, I will give you a quick synopsis. Basically, Stewart’s character gets caught up in an intricate murder plot of a colleague who wants to get rid of his wife. The murderous husband makes over his side-chick to look like his own wife. He then convinces Stewart’s character that his wife has suicidal tendencies and asks him to keep an eye out for her. During his investigative work, he falls in love with the murderer’s side-chick double who he thought was the wife. She is killed and the incident is made to look like a suicide. Some time later, Stewart’s character runs into the side-chick and is warped back into the trance of love he’d once experienced with the dead damsel because they looked astonishingly alike. Okay, so now that you’re caught up, I’ll explain why I’m even writing about this in the first place.
Much like Stewart’s character, we often find ourselves captured by our pasts. In his case, it was a deranged murder plot, so hopefully you haven’t experienced that. Once he ran into the body double later on in the film, he began to dress her up and fix her make-up and hair so that she looked exactly as the murdered wife looked. Then I thought… how often do we do that? We find something that reminds us of something that we loved dearly in the past and dress it up to make it the same thing that we’d lost. That could be a partner, an experience or even an event. It is our obsession with holding on to the past that restricts most of us from moving forward. What we once loved, perhaps is no longer good for us, but hidden by the vale of the past, our sight is no longer focused on the future. Hitchcock, who I’ve always felt was ahead of his time, depicts this obsession perfectly.
Reminisce Over You
You only live once or YOLO as the youngsters used to say. While we know this to be true, we always concern ourselves with do-overs. It is important to take past events and build upon them to create new futures. Although it is easier said than done, especially romantically, it is imperative for growth. This obsession is sometimes what leads us into endless relationships of the same caliber because we have taken bits from the past and attempted to dress them up to remind us of the parts we loved so dearly. Watching Vertigo again at this stage in my life brought me to this point. Reliving the past is not effective for anyone. Spoiler alert! In the end of Vertigo, the other woman also dies. Ironically she dies in the same manner as the murderer’s wife. One thing is for sure and two things are certain. The past is cool to remember, but no matter how you dress it up and try to revive it, your future will be killed in the process if you get stuck in the past. Thanks, Hitchcock!