My mom used to wax nostalgic for her past, usually when confronted with some form of technology that she didn't understand or some behavior that she didn't agree with.
"My world is gone," she'd sigh.
At one point I asked her when she thought her "world" existed. She told me "Oh, the time around World War II."
I was born in 1952 -- which means her world was gone by the time she had me.
When I pointed this out, she scrambled and hemmed and hawed and said that of course she didn't mean anything bad about me (and my younger sister, I might add).
I let her off the hook.
Anyway, I told you that so I could tell you this: I saw Midnight in Paris this weekend. It's the new Woody Allen movie starring Owen Wilson as a neurotic scriptwriter who's working on a novel (he's clearly in a role that Woody would have played had he not been in his 70s).
(And yes, Woody's been a sleazy guy; I still like most of his movies.)
It's a lovely, lovely movie. Sweet, funny, poignant... a pleasurable little fantasy for grown ups, especially in this summer of comic-book action flicks and raunchy comedies. The plot is simple. Gil Pender, his fiancee, and his almost in-laws are on a trip to Paris. Gil is in love with Paris, especially with the Paris of the 1920s -- Oh, the writers! The artists! The culture! -- and would love to have lived then.
In a magical sort of way, he gets his wish.
I'll stop there because I don't want to spoil the movie too much.
But it got me thinking -- do we all wish we'd lived at some other time, in some other place? I used to think I wanted to live in a different era. And then I start thinking about indoor plumbing, and antibiotics, and air conditioning.
The past may seem romantic, but that romance generally makes us forget about the harsh reality of those times.
We've got this time. Time to enjoy it.
And do see Midnight in Paris -- it's great.