Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Watching Together

Skylar's friend Hannah Gill is over for a Valentine's Day visit. They played My Pretty Pony. They colored. And now they are sitting rapt on the sofa, watching My Little Pony, the movie Susan helped us procure.

There's inevitably something darling about watching two five-year-old girls so engrossed in an activity.

What it made me think of, though, is how rare that sort of experience was for me. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I had friends over infrequently and never for the purposes of watching television.

When we moved to Maryland, things got a little better. My sixth-grade friend Jeffrey Lowe spent the night once when Sugar Ray Leonard was boxing Wilfredo Benitez.

At the end of eighth grade, my junior-high friends from Queen Anne School and I went to see Stripes at the movie theater in New Carrollton.

Most of those freinds came over to my house in the ninth grade and we watched Halloween on my family's recently-purchased Sony Betamax, after hurling persimmons at each other in the day's fading light.

But the first time I watched something I was fully engaged in with my peers only was in Germany, when my host-brother Markus, his cousin Mattheus, and Mattheus's sometime "girlfriend" Fifi -- her real name was Viola, I think -- would watch films on her Video 2000 machine. That's where I saw The Road Warrior for the first time. As I recall, it wasn't dubbed and the accents were Australian, unlike in the American version you get here.

Upon returning to the States, I went over to Rob Duckworth's house with David Kramer -- my two best friends in high school -- because they wanted to make sure I saw Blue Velvet, which had come out during my time in Germany, as soon as possible.

Shortly afterwards, I went to Berkeley, where I was without television in my apartment and Annalee's. I went to movie theaters.

But once she and I had met Christopher -- cpratt -- we did have an all-day video fest at the place he was staying in North Berkeley with Stoner Dave. Chris's brother Tim and then-girlfriend Gabi were there too. We rented four movies and drank lots of beer -- not Annalee, of course -- and may have smoked too, considering the fact that Tim was there.

The fourth film escapes me -- Chris? -- but I know we watched Herschel Gordon Lewis's 2000 Maniacs, Taxi Driver, and Jean-Luc Godard's Hail Mary, which perplexed me mightily.

It was fun. There's a big difference between going to a movie theater and watching videos at home. Kim and I have spent many a relaxed weekend being junkyards in that pursuit.

I don't have much of a point here, I realize. But if I had the energy to make the point I sat down at the computer to make, I would write something about how those people who complain about children watching television should make distinctions between A) watching alone; B) watching with one's family; and C) watching with friends. The social dimension to the latter seems to turn the passivity into a passion.
Tags: autobiography, friends, theory

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