Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sorry; wedding; ending; book

Hey Seattle people, the schedule was not permitting outside activities. If I could have called with other than bad news, I would have.

Kefi is married! It now appears that my quick thinking, aided by a peculiar set of circumstances not likely to be repeated, may have saved the wedding video for posterity as we know it.

So first off, kids, videotape your wedding. Test your equipment and your batteries, get a tripod, task one person to do that and only that. My parents have regretted not having good pictures of their wedding, down through the decades (they've been married close to 30 years now!). Until we have 3D television and can view football in the living room tank, that videotape is as close as you're going to get to a record to support your fading memory of the most important single day in your life. So the first strange circumstance was that, as the wedding was heating up, I looked around the room, and there was no camera on a tripod with a bored-looking relative. This made me nervous, but I shrugged it off for a while. Let me repeat one more time: do not let this happen to you.

The second strange circumstance was the strange beeping noise my dad's camera made as it focused. I was a brother of the groom (not in the wedding, but it's ok. Destiny obviously had another heroic feat in mind), so I was seated in the front row. Dad made some lovely remarks during the wedding, so I was tasked to take pictures with his camera. I did so assiduously until I hit some strange button and the camera stopped focusing correctly. Or maybe it was fine, we'll all find out at that great camera debriefing in the sky. Anyway, every time I tried to take a picture with autofocus thereafter, one, the camera wouldn't focus, and two, the autofocus feature would make a strange beeping sound. This sound grated on my ears so much, for so little payoff, as the pictures weren't coming out, that I decided to start flipping through the menus of the camera.

It was getting down to crunch time. Speeches were ending, the rings were coming out. I swept a look over the ballroom (pretty generous word for a multi-purpose at the community center, but there you go) and I still couldn't see a camcorder anywhere. So, after a few nerve-wracking false-starts, centered around the fact that Dad's digital camera's video mode does not use a toggle to start and stop video, but rather requires you to hold down the snap for the entire video period, I got things going and taped the last five minutes of the wedding, with rings, I dos, kiss the bride, and exeunt. And boy were my hands tired. The tape is on Dad's computer, on the camera, on a CD, and hopefully, soon, on YouTube.

One detail does not appear on the tape. About halfway through the recording, I noticed that I was watching the key moments of my sister's wedding through a tiny viewfinder in the back of a Pentax Optio camera, when the real thing was happening in living color just behind the camera. This seemed like a bit of a 21st century moment to me, and I took five seconds to think about whether I cared. Eventually, I went back to the viewfinder so they would have a good tape. The day wasn't really about me, after all... and there my tale is done.

I would like to write more about the wedding, but the whole week was so action packed that I might as well just start at the beginning. Later. Long ending short, it snowed in Denver today, and Sarah, Alex and I got to the car at about 8:30. It was close to freezing, if not freezing, and there was wind chill too.

The car wouldn't start.

I started freaking out, and Sarah started calling people. I told her to call my dad, who, fortunately, knew that we should call the jumpstarting service at the airport. I flagged down a truck, and a nice man got out and gave me the numbers to call. Then we called the service, and exactly the same truck, only with different people, came out and jumped the car. It turns out that somehow I left the lights on, even though the car boos at me when I open the car door with the lights on... I still don't know quite what happened. Sarah passed on at the last minute that I needed to tip the dudes, so I gave them the money I could find in my wallet with my frozen fingers. And we made it home, and there the end of the end of the other tale is done. The balance of the tale, TBA.

Lastly, today, for the first time, I finished Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis, his last novel. I waited a long time to read A Grief Observed, and I waited just about longest for this one. I've read them all, folks (except That Hideous Strength). It's a brilliant catalog of fiction. Narnia. Perelandra. The Great Divorce. The Pilgrim's Regress. The Screwtape Letters. Not necessarily in that order. So believe me when I tell you, this is the best CS Lewis novel in existence, except perhaps in the Sandman's library, or in heaven. It is a perfect fricking masterpiece from beginning to end. Do not hold back any longer, like I did. Buy this book tomorrow. It is tremendous, in the sense of fear and trembling. I was shaking as I read the end, tears streaming down my face.

I won't spoil it, except to say that if you look at the back of the book, carefully ignoring the ending, you will find a note explaining the myth that Till We Have Faces is a retelling of. I strongly recommend that you read this note before you read the novel, and have the background that any undergraduate reader of mythology would bring to this amazing book. That way, you will be able to see, perhaps, why Lewis wanted to tell this story and go at it a little differently.

Perfect.

1 comment:

vince said...

I have not read it, but I do know the story of "Till we have faces" and I also know what C.S. Lewis is trying to do with the book. It demonstrates his brilliance in theology. He understands the essentials of Christianity better that most professional theologians.

Lately, Kathy and I have been using "Mere Christianity" as a resource for teaching teens. C.S. Lewis's humorous and piercing prose achieves much more than a systematic theology. We both decided to re-read "Mere Christianity" even though we have read it twice before ... about 20 and 10 years ago.

I have "Till we have Faces" on my list of must read books. Unfortunately, my list is quite long.