i was rocking the early train this morning just so i could leave work a few hours early. at that time in the morning, during peak rush hour, it's pretty much standing room only, even from porter square, which is just two stops from alewife, the start of the red line. must be all those damn suburban commuters clogging up my train. yeah, i said it. it's called the "t" ain't it? at least porter square is still upstream. imagine trying to pick up the train from kendall? those poor fools are better off just walking into boston to work, save them from having to crush themselves into already crowded cabins. i got to the office a bit after 8am. kristine arrived soon afterwards, "you're here early," she said. since i'm almost never early, the first assumption is something's wrong. "coming in early so i can leave early," was my reply.

i didn't leave the office at all today, even though i should've gone out and taken advantage of the weather, for that period in the early afternoon when it was all nice and sunny, before it got dark again by late afternoon. i just stayed by my desk and worked, finishing up the rest of my buffalo wings for lunch, counting off the hours until it was time for me to go. i left at 4pm with a light commute. a stream of rainwater by the sidewalk greeted me when i got home, thick with the swirls of yellow tree pollen. it was trash day this morning, but they didn't pick up my trash because the barrel i put everything in had a faded "garden refuse" sticker.

renata didn't show up until after 5:30pm (after her yoga class, sporting a new shorter haircut). she had this crazy idea about treating me to dinner (her reasoning being that i paid for her on several past occasions), but i wanted nothing to do with that. we drove out to mass ave where we found a spot to park and had dinner at the tamarind house, a thai restaurant i've always wanted to visit but never had the chance. we were the first customers and got prime seatings at the front window, which was good because we could look outside, but also bad because it was distracting, and people would walk by and look down right at our table. we both had a cup of soup, and shared a green papaya salad and their house special spicy mango curry. the food was nice, but i'm withholding my final judgement until i can come back and try their red curry, the thai litmus test. it was starting to cut close to our 7:05 movie time, so we had the rest of the curry to go, renata getting the doggie bag when i told her i don't like eating leftovers. while we waited for our check, renata showed me her lip balm and lip gloss collection, explaining their various flavors and level of tingle and shine (as she applies some to her bottom lip). with my attention distracted, renata was able to grab the check.

from porter square it was a quick drive down to kendall cinema (the equivalent of 3 t stops). pulling into the garage, i told renata she should be able to get a parking ticket without having to get out of the car, but her car was once again too far from the machine and she had to open the door to grab a ticket. i gave her some good nature ribbing about it while she pointed out a man doing the exact same thing, getting out of the car to grab a ticket. we got our tickets for eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, i stamped the parking ticket with the validation machine several times (i couldn't get the stamp to fall inside of the designated square), and then we went into the theatre. the trailers were already playing, and we took turns running to the bathroom before the movie started. from my bag i took out 2 bottles of jasmine tea (bought from the super 88 in chinatown many weeks ago), renata's favorite.

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind was released back in march. i had promised renata that i'd go see it with her, and although i'd been tempted to just go see the movie on my own (especially after hearing the rave reviews from people who've seen the film), i stuck to my promise, reminding renata ever so often, even sending her a postcard from new york. i feel like we're the only two people who haven't seen it yet. finally, tonight, we were watching eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, but i was afraid that i'd be disappointed with the movie after allowing the anticipation to build up to such an intense level.

friends, i can honestly tell you, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind totally lives up to the expectations, above and beyond. i got a little teary during parts of it ("stupid movie!"), and afterwards, just talking about it made me want to cry again. the movie is essentially a love story. jim carrey plays joel, whom after learning that his ex-girlfriend clementine (the irresistable kate winslet) had all her memories of him removed, decided to go and have the procedure done himself, so he can forget about her. that's all you need to know, anything more would spoil all the surprises. but for those who've seen the movie already, read on:

i didn't like the movie at first, although the unexplained story between joel and clementine was intriguing. when the notion of being able to erase selective memories was first introduced, i didn't think much of it. only later did it dawn on me the importance of memories. memories is what makes us who we are, without them we're just empty shells. good or bad, they all serve a purpose in shaping our personality and producing our desires and our fears. at first joel is happy to be getting rid of his memories of clementine, as piece by piece, parts of her disappear from his mind. it's when he realizes what's done does the movie start to pick up. unwilling to let go of a particularly happy memory of clementine, he tries to unsuccessfully wake up from the procedure. the clementine of his mind then suggests he could hide memories of her in other memories that won't get deleted, mostly things from his childhood. that's when the movie gets sort of surreal and trippy, classic charlie kaufman script, but there's real poignancy to what joel is trying to do, yet no matter how hard he tries, his memories of clementine just can't escape deletion. one by one, scenes disappear from his mind, as he tries desperately to hold on to whatever clementine memories he has left. he is ultimately doomed, there is no chance to save those memories, no chance to save her. the film becomes unbearably sad at that point, like a beautiful story without a happy ending. the movie takes another loop though, the idea that despite the lose of memories, there is something even stronger, and that's the power of attraction, almost primal, something like fate, how two people are just destined to be together no matter what. the relationship between mary (kirsten dunst) and the doctor (tom wilkinson) reinforces that idea. when joel and clementine get back together at the end of the movie, memories of each other completely erased, it's the ultimate romantic notion of getting a second chance at love. call me a sucker for romance, but i lost it at that point, thinking about it now makes me tremble. eternal sunshine of the spotless mind is like no movie i've ever seen before. it follows no template as how a romantic movie should be structured, and the story seems to meander everywhere, especially since most of the time we're seeing everything through joel's memories as they disintegrate. yet despite it all, this movie works. the payoff is spectacular, and you're kind of left there in the theatre awestrucked, a smile on your face, tears in your eyes, as the credits roll by. must see? do you even need to ask?

renata and i rushed out to use the bathroom as soon as the movie was over. driving back home, we compared notes about the movie we just saw. "tony, i just loved this movie," renata kept on telling me. when we got back to my place, i tried to lure renata inside with sweet promises of hot chocolate and warm tea since it was still relatively early (9:30), but she politely declined my offers. when i got inside the house, i searched for my cellphone, which i didn't have with me, and was afraid that somehow i lost it, even though i couldn't imagine how. it looked bleak for a second there, as i tried to figure out what my options were if i did lose my life line to the rest of the world, but i was finally able to dig out the nokia from between two sofa cushions.

electric light orchestra - "mr. blue sky"