Sunday, November 12, 2006

Three Broken Plates

I was trying to find something to watch, tonight, when I saw "Amelie," listed on the menu for Film Four. Also known as "Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain," ("The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain"), this 2001 French film is oddly funny, in a way that only French films can be. The title character, played by the lovely Audrey Tautou, is an eccentric, naive young woman in Paris, who falls in love with an eccentric young man, while trying to help people around her. I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did. Tautou is fabulous and has the biggest brown eyes I have seen in quite a while. Something about Audrey Tautou reminds me of Kelly Lucas, my first fiancee. The film is in French, with subtitles, which seems to put off a lot of people, both in America and in Britain. Personally, I have no problem with watching foreign language films with subtitles. I prefer that to having them dubbed into English. I like hearing the sound of the original language, even when I can't understand it. I do know the odd word of French, so it's nice to put it into practice. I used to have a close friend, here in England, who wanted to go see "Hero," as he was a Jet Li fan. He invited me to go with him, but cancelled at the last minute, when he found out "Hero" had subtitles. "I don't do subtitles," he said, and I have never seen "Hero," to date. After years of friendship, we had a falling out this past summer, over money.

As I was watching "Amelie," I thought of Paula. Paula was the woman I went out with right before I met my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen. The youngest of three sisters, Paula was born in New York, while her sisters had all been born in Jamaica. Her mother had come to New York pregnant and Paula grew up as the only member of her family not to have a Jamaican accent. We dated between 1991 and the end of 1996. On one of our early dates, Paula invite me to go see a French film, "Tatie Danielle" (1990), playing at an art house in Manhattan. "Tatie Danielle" is another odd French comedy and after the film, Paula asked me how I liked it. I told her I loved the film, because I did. However, she was convinced that I was just saying this to be nice, because she had picked the film. She hadn't yet learned that I will say what I really think, rather than pretend to spare people's feelings. No matter what I said, she just wouldn't accept that I really did like it. I think I liked it more than she did. "Amelie" is the kind of film Paula would like.
In the film, Amelie is startled when she hears the news that Princess Diana has been killed in a car crash. Amelie drops a bottle top and, when she picks it up, discovers a secret compartment in the wall of her flat. She finds an old box hidden inside, with a photograph and some child's toys inside. She decides to find the original owner and return the box. This is the first of what becomes a series of her doing things to help people. The scene reminded me of where I was when I heard about the death of Diana. I was visiting the Black Queen, for a long weekend, as we had been dating for four months. She went downstairs for something, while I remained up in bed. The BQ knew I fancied Princess Diana. Suddenly, the BQ shouted up to me, "you've missed your chance, dear." She then told me that Diana had been killed. In "Amelie," one of the minor characters seems obsessed with Princess Diana. This silly film has managed to remind me of Kelly Lucas, Paula, and the Black Queen.

I also dreamed about the Black Queen, last night. In my dream, we were living in the same house, although she was divorcing me. I was trying to persuade her to reconcile. In the dream, we seemed to be getting along much better than we actually did, at that stage in our relationship. Ironically, it was four years ago, this month, that the Black Queen locked me out of the house. I ended up living in my car for almost two months. At least it was a BMW.

While watching, "Amelie," I decided I fancied some popcorn. During one of Film Four's commercial breaks, I zipped into the kitchen and removed a packet of Orville Redenbacher's microwave popcorn from the cupboard. Strange things have been happening, lately, when I have been microwaving popcorn. A couple of weeks ago, I was microwaving popcorn one night, when I heard a loud bang come from the microwave. I didn't think much of it at the time, but when the bell went off, signaling the timer had run out, and I opened the oven, I found that the revolving, glass platter in the bottom of the microwave had split in half.

Since then, I have been using half the platter. I tried putting microwaveable popcorn on the broken platter and the bag wouldn't rotate properly. For some reason, the popcorn wasn't popping fully and I was ending up with a lot of old maids. I decided to try putting the popcorn bag on a plate first, the sitting the plate onto the remaining half of the platter. The popcorn still didn't pop fully, so I tried running the oven for an extra minute. When I went to take the plate out after the extra minute, it was so hot, it burned my fingers, so I dropped it on the counter. The plate split in half, just like the microwave platter had done. I was surprised at this, since I hadn't dropped it very far. The popcorn had popped fully, though. After that, I have used a tea towel to remove the plate, so as not to burn myself and drop it.

Tonight, I put in the packet of popcorn without a plate, but setting the timer for a longer than normal duration. I guess it was a little too long, because the popcorn came out partially burned. I could only eat part of the bag. I sat there, wondering if I should pop another bag. What the heck, I decided to go for it. This time, I put the bag on a plate, again. I cut down the time by about thirty seconds. Sitting on the settee, waiting for the popcorn to finish, I heard a loud bang, again, just like when the platter had broken. When I opened the microwave oven, the plate I had sat the popcorn bag on had split in half. If you count the rotation platter, this is the third plate I have split in the microwave, within three weeks. Each time, it was while I was popping popcorn. How bizarre.


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