Saturday, April 3, 2010

What I Did on Holy Saturday

What did I do on Holy Saturday? I mortified the flesh, naturally!

First, my car having flunked its biannual safety and emissions inspections, and I having invested over $1200 in making the repairs necessary to pass, I took it back for its reinspection. Then, with the last piece of paper I needed to reapply for vehicle tags, I sent off the application by mail. With the blessing, this may be my easiest year ever for renewing those tags. It will probably also be the last time I renew them for this car, since by the time my new tags expire in 2012, I will be in my tenth year of driving it. Sooner or later, I'm going to have to buy a less-driven car. Till then, I'll just have to practice a bit of self-denial, by persistently driving the same crummy old car.

I brought a book along to read at Dobbs while my car was being reinspected. The book is Allison Croggon's The Crow, which has been hiding in my laptopless laptop bag (where I keep everything I need for Symphony Chorus rehearsals) with a bookmark in the same page since about January. Hopefully I'll finish it tonight, so I can blog a review of it and three other books I have finished recently. I had been reading it during most of my spare moments since Thursday night, but didn't get very far at Dobbs because I was distracted by the soft, involuntary chuckling of the elderly lady sitting next to me in the waiting room. So I abandoned the waiting room and took a walk, browsed FYE, the used music and video store across the street and, wonder of wonders, didn't buy anything! Well, there's a little mortification for you!

After I had the "Congratulations! Your vehicle passed its inspections!" certificate firmly in my grip, I rushed home and posted it with the application to renew my tags, together with two years' worth of property tax receipts, a copy of my vehicle insurance card, and a check for $52.28. This car seriously isn't worth it. But you know, I'm kind of in mourning for Jesus, so all the expense and red tape kept me in the mood.

Then I decided to put a brave face on it. I went to Ronnie's Drive-In and had a meatball sandwich and fries, then went to see a delightful animated movie: How to Train Your Dragon, featuring the voice talents of Gerard Butler, America Fererra, and Kristin Wiig, among others. It's really a top-quality film, on the same level of smart, touching, funny, and exciting adventure as The Incredibles and Up. Jay Baruchel provides the drily witty voice of Hiccup, a teenage Viking who observes about his island: "This is Berk, where it snows nine months of the year and hails the other three. The food that grows here is tough and tasteless, and the people are even more so." Though he has been brought up to believe that dragons (the local pest) always go for the kill, and a Viking's only chance is to go for it first, he befriends an injured dragon that he calls Toothless, and learns that there is a way to save his island without humans and dragons killing each other. It's a good family picture with some intense, even scary action and a tiny bit of adult humor - a Dad in the audience was the only person, besides me, who laughed when Hiccup's father explained where the boy's horned helm came from. I would give it a good chance at winning next year's animated feature Oscar.

Other than that, everything else I saw on the big screen made me glad I had brought a book and a flashlight to read it with. The commercials, one and all, were so stupid that I thought, "The whole world must be hooked on crack!" I am so at peace with all that I'm missing by not watching broadcast TV.

After the movie ended, I resisted the temptation (more self-denial!) to stay for a showing of Clash of the Titans, the new CGI remake of the 1980s stop-motion classic. Instead, I drove home, stopping only to browse the Record Exchange (another used music and video store). I saw lots of stuff that I wanted to buy, but didn't buy anything. There's something to be said for the way too many temptations can cancel each other out. Since I couldn't afford everything that caught my eye, I didn't feel so bad leaving without anything.

Now I'm back at home, submitting myself to the discipline of writing (feel the burn!) and watching my cats get high on a catnip toy I bought on clearance at Walgreen's somewhere between FYE and Dobbs. It's a silly little toy - a "Las Vegas Showgull" decorated with fake feathers that my cats love to shred, and filled with an herb that makes them act totally crazy. I watch their antics with a complacency so profound that somebody should slap me, which would also be mortifying.

It's not even 4:00 yet, and the sun it still shining on a glorious, warm, blue-sky day. I'm going to pay my rent bill, then take a walk so that I can enjoy some fresh air, sunshine, and exercise (spiritual or otherwise) before the sun goes down on the day our Lord rested in the tomb. All in all, it's been a restful day for me too. Easter triumph is right around the corner. For now, peace be to all.

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