Friday, October 29, 2004

“Leave the gun. Take the cannolis.”

The Movie: The Godfather, 1972 (Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, screenwriters, from the novel by Mario Puzo; Francis Ford Coppola, dir.)
Who says it: Richard Castellano as Clemenza, one of Don Corleone’s enforcers.
The context: Clemenza says this to his associate, who’s just shot Paulie (John Martino) in the back of the head. Paulie was driving the car, so they need to leave it, but there’s a box of cannolis in the car, and Clemenza promised his wife he’d bring home dessert.
How to use it: To help someone focus on their priorities.

Three months into this project, and this is my first Godfather quotation. I don't love the Godfather movies the way so many of my friends do; I admire them, but I don't own them and I won't drop everything to watch them if they're on. I hate to agree about anything with that idiotic movie You've Got Mail, but I do think it's one of those male-female dichotomies, like Neil Young and ice hockey. I've known a few women who claimed to like The Godfather, Neil Young and/or ice hockey, but I strongly suspect that most of them were lying in order to impress a guy. At least, I was, the one time I pretended to like Neil Young. (Okay, okay: I respect the man as an artist. I do love "Helpless." Don't bug me about this.)

I digress, but that's kind of the point. I'm having a hard time focusing on all the things I need to do -- I feel overstimulated, even overwhelmed, and that's bad because I have real work to do as well as all the moving-related stuff. I can't justify the fact that I took yesterday afternoon off and drove out to Rockland, where I met Anna for lunch.

It was a beautiful day, and we walked the Rockland breakwater out to the lighthouse. The breakwater's very long, maybe even a mile; it shelters the Rockland harbor from the Atlantic Ocean. We saw a seal basking in the sun on one rock, and a cormorant fishing from another.

At the end of the breakwater we sat on the rocks, sun at our backs, and watched the water. The breakwater is made of giant blocks of granite, pieced together like a rock wall laid on its side. The water moves through it with the tides. From our perch on top of the rocks, the breakwater sounded hollow, as if it hid a sea cave underneath.

I felt calm. I felt that I had done the right thing, leaving Los Angeles. I felt that Maine would give me permission to start aging again, because Los Angeles really doesn't.

None of this, of course, helps me get my work done.

No comments: