Have I made it clear how I feel about people who always look on the bright side of life?
My favorite song on the Rent soundtrack is called “Another Day.” Basically it’s an argument between two people. Roger is holed up in his apartment, bitter and sick, refusing to face the world, refusing to make anything of his life, because he’s unhappy with his life and consumed with regret. Mimi is begging him to come out on the town, begging him to stop wasting his life and start living.
Here’s basically what Mimi says: “The heart may freeze or it can burn. The pain will ease if I can learn that there is no future, there is no past. I live this moment as my last. There’s only us, there’s only this– forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way– no day but today.”
And here’s Roger’s response: “Who do you think you are, barging in on me and my guitar? Little girl, hey, the door is that way. You better go, you know, the fire is out anyway…. Come back another day, another day!”
You know why I love this song? It allows for both sides of the argument, and gives each equal weight. Hope and despair, life and death; grasping the moment and letting the moment pass. Because sure, I agree with Mimi a lot of the time. That’s often how I try to live my life– in the moment, not letting life pass me by, not dwelling on the bad stuff, trying really hard to be brave. But we need Roger’s side, too, don’t we? We need to be allowed to feel how completely shitty life is sometimes and we need to be allowed to be cowards. We need to connect to our bad feelings just as much as we need to connect to the good ones. I don’t even think Roger is necessarily letting his life pass him by. I think he is living in his today. It’s just that today, his today sucks. Sometimes you live in the moment and the moment sucks. And all you can do is tell all the happy, chirpy, positive people to come back another day.
(And after all, he doesn’t say, “Come back never.” He says, “Come back another day.” That’s important, too. I’m not suggesting we should aim for permanent despair.)
Ahem. Thank you for attending to my adolescent moment.
(Yay David Cook!)
(What? Huh? American Idol? Don’t be absurd. Last night I watched a documentary about weevils.)