I just finished watching the movie 500 Days of Summer.
There was one scene in the movie that resonated with me. It involved a split screen, where side by side, the same scene was being played out... one subtitled expectations, and the other reality. In the expectations scene, a romantic reunion unfolded with tenderness and heartwarming affection, while the reality side showed a stark contrast of casual coolness, ending in abject loneliness. It was hard to watch as both developed, trying to decide which one to focus on, and yet, it was an effective piece of film making.
When the movie had ended and the credits rolled with a upbeat tune, I thought back to the split screen scene. What if your entire life had both sides running at the same time? Would reality ever match your expectations? Would both scenes ever play out the same? What if you got go back and watch as certain pivotal scenes of your life revealed the incredible differences between the split?
I think if you were to peer into the film of my life, you might find my reality scene showing me watching the expectations scene with a forlorn look, as a Cat Stevens song scored in the background. My expectations side would likely be a romantic comedy involving several funny scenes with my beautiful, exotic wife and our well-behaved kids, shot at a tropical location in an endless sunny, summer setting. Whereas, my reality side might reveal me in the same setting, by myself, reading a book, as other families played around me, laughing and having fun.
I liked the movie, particularly because it was bold enough to end outside the box of most trite romances marketed as date movies. The boy doesn't get the girl in the end, and yet, as Summer turns to Autumn, hope springs eternal and a brokenhearted tale is spun into an uplifting promise of potential future love. I'd like to say that I left the theater with my girlfriend, holding hands, discussing whether or not to hit Dairy Queen on the way home... but that would be the expectations side.
Reality just shows me sitting at my computer... reflecting into my blog, hoping for the day when my expectations shrink to fit the small screen of my actual life.