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Jaded

I get a lot of random movie ideas. This is one of them, a Romantic Comedy for the age of globalization:

JADED

ACT I:

Bob lives in American suburbia. He works all day in a corporate cube in an office park and comes home to an apartment in a shitty beige building in a complex of shitty beige buildings. He gets up, has a long day at work, goes to the gym, gets home, has a quick dinner, watches TV and goes to sleep. Day in day out. He has few friends. Unsatisfying anonymous soul-sucking life. He is not a boring guy but he is in a terrible rut and his usual positive nature has been overrun with cynicism.

One night he’s surfing an online dating website and on a whim he sets his search to women who “live anywhere.” He meets a Chinese woman, Qi. (Qi translated is Jade.) They begin an online relationship. He lives for the moments at night they message or Skype. Soon they Skype every night. He tries to get her to come to the US. He knows “she” might be catfishing him but he doesn’t care. He’s enjoying it as long as the illusion lasts.

Then we see it from Qi’s perspective. She’s a divorced mom. She is kind in her daily life as she cares for her young kids and gets them off to school etc. In short, she is everything we’ve heard her tell Bob she is. He hasn’t been catfished. She has been honest with him EXCEPT for one act of omission revealed to us at the end of Act I: Qi is the star of a provincial TV show and Bob doesn’t know it but he is her co-star.

ACT II:

The show — “We Love You Bob” — is on every night in the Chinese province. It features Bob’s Skype calls, messages, hopes, fears, etc with snarky commentary. He is far from anonymous in this Chinese province. He is famous and beloved and mocked. Every time he complains about his life in suburbia, it becomes water cooler talk for 100 million people. He has no idea, however.

Back and forth between perspectives. Small things happen: like staff of Chinese restaurant starts being weirdly nice to him. Qi begins to feel guilty but at the same time she really cares for him. Qi keeps putting him off about visiting the US but finally she convinces him to visit her in China.

ACT III:

Bob goes to China. His visit is set to be the grand finale of the TV show. He thinks he’s coming to meet her. Bob arrives in the province and mobs of people are waiting to see him. He slowly realizes what has happened as it seems like the entire country has come out to welcome him. At the same time he’s upset. He feels betrayed. But he ends up forgiving Qi, relishing his fame and they marry and stay in China.

Three’s Company (1977-84) was a ridiculous TV show. But I enjoyed watching it in daytime reruns as part of my daily routine while waiting for my first transplant in 1997-8. In almost every episode, one or two people in Jack, Janet and Chrissy’s living room would overhear two or three people talking in the kitchen and a misunderstanding would ensue. By the end of each episode, after many laughs and hijinks, the misunderstanding would be cleared up.

Let’s say neighbor Larry stops by the apartment to tell Jack about the hot date he has lined up for Friday night and as he steps into the living room he overhears Jack and Janet talking in the kitchen. Larry hears Janet say, “You’re so good with your hands.” Cut to Larry’s eyes bulging. In the kitchen, we see Jack preparing hamburger for a meatloaf as Janet looks on. Then she samples soup on the stove and says, “Mmmm.” Larry runs out of the apartment and we see him arrive breathless at the Regal Beagle, where he tells Chrissy (or one of her replacements) that Jack and Janet are “getting it on” in the kitchen. Mr. Furley, sitting at the bar, overhears this and does a spit take. This is grounds to throw them out of the apartment! (Mr. Furley and the Ropers before him had no tolerance for a couple living in sin.) Later, a version of Larry’s story reaches Jack, who hears it as Janet wanting him. He proceeds to make a fool out of himself. At episode’s end, the whole gang gathers and talks it all out. Okay, I don’t know why I enjoyed this show but I did. Let’s just say TV back then was more deadwood than Deadwood.

I used to think it was preposterous to assert such misunderstandings could occur. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to believe that silly misunderstandings occur all the time. Now I believe the preposterous part of the show (and most sitcoms) was the idea that such misunderstandings ever get cleared up. Life overflows with misunderstandings and bad assumptions that are never clarified or corrected. People’s lives intersect in moments of miscommunication far more often than in moments of clarity.

I had a funny Three’s Company moment the other day (minus one of the show’s patented sexual double entendres). I was in my kitchen cooking dinner. My window was open and right outside my kitchen window is an alley often used by people to cut across the neighborhood. It is almost a street, a narrow one with no sidewalks. As I was cooking dinner, I dropped an apple on the floor. I yelled, “Shit!”, then picked up the apple, put it on the counter and walked out of my kitchen.

I was going to return in a second to clean the apple. But as I moved away and out of the kitchen I caught a glimpse of a man leaning over in the alley five feet from my kitchen window. By the time I put everything together it was too late to say something.

What had happened: one of my neighbors was walking his dog past my house as I made my dinner. His dog took a dump next to my flower bed. And — from my neighbor’s perspective — just as he leaned down to pick up the poop, I yelled “Shit!” at him out my window.

Maybe one of these days I’ll get a chance to clear this up.

Prescription Solutions continues to be incredibly annoying. After a recent disaster I got so fed up I’ve begun getting every medicine I can from my local King Soopers pharmacy. King Soopers prescriptions can be refilled with a 15 second automated phone call. PS Specialty pharmacy refills require a 10 minute, extremely annoying phone call to refill the same medicine I get every month. And they still manage to fuck it up half the time.

The recent disaster with Prescription Solutions…

Make that Prescription Problems. I refilled a drug online. Of course, I called to verify the order (because one has to) and to make sure they delivered it to my house with no signature required. The woman told me, yes, no signature required! Cut to UPS notice on my door, signature required. I call PProblems late in the day and the woman tells me only a supervisor can switch a “signature” order to a “no signature” order so I should call back the next day. I call back the next day and speak to a supervisor. Turns out you cannot have a “no signature” with certain medicines, including the one I’m ordering. Too bad the two other people I spoke to were unaware of this policy. So I’m screwed and have to drive out to Commerce City to pick up the package at the UPS facility.

As I said in my previous piece, some of the people in the call center are on top of things and some are not. But the system itself sucks. I just called Prescription Solutions Specialty pharmacy, where I am required to order my “specialty” (i.e., expensive) medicines every month. For these drugs, there is no online ordering system. Calling once a month is my only option. So I call.

Their new torture technique is a voice recognition system that greets you and cannot be bypassed. You have to say your birth date. I say my birth date several times in the format required and the fucking system cannot understand what I’m saying! Then you get the option of using digits on your phone. Memo to the idiots at Prescription Solutions — make that the first option. I type in my birth date and next they want some other piece of information to be deciphered by the voice recognition system. Not going through that. This is my first chance to say “operator” to get a human. I take it. And I get a competent human — so the annoyance of this call is all about the system.

The guy asks for my name, birth date (what was the point of asking it upon my point of entry if I have to repeat it again?), and my full address. Just in case they weren’t annoying you enough, you now have to give your state when you give your address. City & zip code are not enough. Remember, this is not to get your address. This is to VERIFY your address, which they are looking at.

I’m accustomed to giving only a zip code because the zip code tells you the state. It’s a small thing but all the little annoyances add up. To a mountain with PProblems. Same medicine delivered to the same place every month. It takes ten minutes to complete this order. And this is when my customer service guy is doing everything right!

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