Saturday, September 22, 2007

On A Clear Day

Tonight, GK and I watched a film called On A Clear Day. It’s a story, on the surface, about a man attempting to swim the English Channel from England to France. When I told Kristy the plot before watching it she asked why I like movies like that. I’d never really thought about it before, but I suppose I do enjoy a story about someone who is attempting something that seems impossible, whether circumnavigating the globe solo, cycling through the Alps, diving to new depths or swimming a large body of water. These are stories of accomplishment, and whether the person attempting actually succeeds or not, he’s taking on a challenge. I’m not sure why this resonates with me. Perhaps because I’ve never committed to anything in that way, not just a supreme physical feat like running an ultra-marathon, but something more within my grasp like refurbishing the Honda Rebel that’s sitting in my garage, building a boat or running 26.2 miles. Something that, though it isn’t necessary for life, really is so for living. I go to work in the mornings but at the end of every workday, of every six-day workweek, everything I’ve spent my time and effort on is, quite literally, up in smoke. I can’t hold something in my hand and say, “Look at this. This is what my skills and my knowledge made today” and that’s something that I think I would like to be able to do. I admire anyone who sets out to accomplish a thing, perseveres, and has something to show for that effort.

On a Clear Day is the story of Frank, a middle-aged man who has lost his job and is unsure of what to do with his life. He sets out, with a group of close friends as trainers and advisers, to swim the English Channel. But there’s more to the story than just training for a grueling swim. It’s the story of a man and his pride, a father and son, grieving, a husband and wife and that woman’s independence, boat building, human worth, accomplishment, failure, and GK was pleased to find that it even has a nice little homage to Jaws. It’s a delightful movie.

When I got the DVD from NetFlix, it was damaged and halfway through became unplayable, so I sent it back. They sent me a new copy immediately and we made it through the 99-minute movie. So there you go, sometimes my tenacity pays off.