I'm in a west-coast city for my third visit. The first was in 1996 during a west-coast camping trip. The second was in 2005 for a professional conference. Now I'm here for a wedding.
How is this visit different? I'm thinking more about how little I remember from previous stays. I'm wondering whether it matters that so much of life slips away. I'm noticing how northern towns on water share common traits -- pine trees, houses built above harbors, the cry of seagulls -- and how much I enjoy those traits.
I'm enjoying returning to a place with Calder after so many years. I worry sometimes that we will be bored with each other, after the kids are gone, but then we get away and I realize that won't happen. It's also nice to have built so much of a shared life together, even if neither one remembers very many of the details anymore.
We have slow enough Internet service that streaming movies was never as good an option as DVDs/Blu-Rays. And we'd signed up for Blockbuster mail service long enough ago that our plan was a crazy-good deal: three videos at a time, each of which could be exchanged for a new on in store. They'd ship another when we returned the store rental.
It was an especially nice treat for our annual road trips, because we could get three movies for the road and then return them -- without late fees -- when we came home.
Yes, we have taken to using Redbox a lot more lately. We've streamed a few movies using Amazon Prime and our ancient Wii console. We've even bought a movie or three on iTunes, and once, we even downloaded using our Satellite TV provider. I guess Netflix will be getting our business, now.
We stopped doing family read-alouds last year, but we now have a weekly tradition of movie-watching. Last Friday, we watched Ocean's 11: by our habits, it was another Matt Damon movie (we watched the entire Bourne franchise over the course of several weeks). We've also been watching a lot of Tom Hanks movies. He seems to spend a lot of screen time alone, trapped -- physically or metaphysically -- or trapped alone.
We've let the kids see three R-rated movies, all this year. First, Argo; then (and these were both accidents of a kind: I hadn't realized they were R-rated) The Breakfast Club and Die Hard. I very much regret the extreme violence of Die Hard and we had one person walk out of The Breakfast Club during the panty scene.
Last night, we watched the middle hour of Forrest Gump on broadcast TV; tonight, we watched the first hour. They blurred all the beer and cigarettes. No one liked anything having to do with sex. The violence in Vietnam barely fazed them.