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18 October 2005 @ 09:28 am
"Capoeira is not a suit to be put on and taken off on a whim, it is our own skin. We are snakes, cats, bats, rats, monkeys." – The Little Capoeira Book

- Have I told you which kind of trip I’m leaving on, Klein?
- Now that you mention it, I don’t think you have.
- I’m flying to Brazil to go to a capoeira seminar which should last about two weeks or so.
- Wow, that sounds like one enriching trip.
- Heh, glad to hear you’d think so.
- What do you mean?
- You’d think I’d know my daughter better than that by now given how long we’ve known each other, but somehow it still hadn’t occurred to me when I bought two tickets she might not want to come.
- I don’t remember it sounding like it’d have interested her a lot when she and I talked about it, no.
- See? You’ve only known her for a few days and even you could have figured that out.
- Was she offended?
- Actually, she was very polite when she declined, which only makes me feel worse.
- With all due respect, I don’t think that’s what she was going for, sir.
- I know.
- Weren’t you the one who was telling me I was being too hard on myself just a few days ago?
- I know, I know, I should take my own advice, and so on and so forth. The point of the matter is that now I’m basically stuck with an extra plane ticket and no one to make use of it.
- Stop me if I’m being delusional, but are you asking me if I...?
- Know anyone else who might want to go instead of her? I wouldn’t mind that, no.

The barely concealed mixture of disappointment and confusion on Klein’s face hadn’t lasted past Ivan’s chuckle and follow-up.

- Of course I meant you, why else would have I been telling you?
- I don’t know, sir.
- So, what do you say?
- I feel honored you’d even be asking me.
- Can I take that as a yes?
- A most emphatic one!
- Heh, glad to hear it.

Klein had smiled apologetically, looking down while scratching the back of his head

- I’m sorry, I’m afraid I must have sounded a little over-enthusiastic just now.
- Don’t be, there’s nothing wrong with that. Life’s too short not to leap into it with everything you’ve got, you know?
- Um, thanks, I guess.
- Have you ever done any martial arts before?
- I’ve had to go through a crash course or two in battle conditions before, but not formally, no.
- Perfect. That just means less conditioning for you to have to unlearn.
- Does that mean there’d have been something wrong if I’d said I did have experience?
- Not really.
- Then I’m confused.
- The world’s a confusing place for everyone, Klein.

Emma had hugged Klein goodbye on the morning before they’d left for the airport.

- If I didn’t know any better, I’d almost think you were going to miss me.
- You know me better than that.
- Do you never miss anyone?
- Of course not. Nothing really matters to me.
- I know.

On their way out the door to Ivan’s car, Klein had addressed him about her.

- I can’t tell whether she’s kidding or serious.
- A little from column A, a little from column B.
- What do you mean?
- I mean, how much do you think you’d be willing to open yourself up to really deeply caring about others after the two people you’d cared the most deeply for of all would have been taken away from you?
- I hadn’t thought about that.
- We’ve had discussions in which I’ve tried to gently persuade her that it’s worth it and that she doesn’t have to put on a brave face, but she’s politely reminded me every time that she’s doing just fine on her own and that as far as she was concerned I shouldn’t have to worry about her regarding anything.
- Wouldn’t she have wanted not to worry you because she deeply cares about you, though?
- Don’t get me wrong, she does have a few people who she’s on relatively friendly terms with, she just can’t seem to let people in the way she used to anymore.
- I imagine you must have to be there for her a lot.
- Only when she gives me a chance to be. It’s not that I don’t want to be there for her because that wouldn’t be fair to me, it’s just that I don’t think I should have to be the only person she cares about because I don’t think that’s fair to her.
- That doesn’t sound like something as easy to get over as she seems to be trying to make it come off as.
- In the end, it’s her life and her business, so she and have pretty much had to agree to disagree on this one and move on from it together.
- Has she ever had a problem with you trying to meet someone else?
- She’d already had to develop some maturity about those issues to get used to me at first, so that’s not something I can complain about, no.
- That’s all I needed to hear.
- Why would have you needed to hear that, did you have your eye on me?

Ivan had been joking.

- Hah! No offence, sir, but no, sir, no, I didn’t.

Klein had been lying, but that still hadn’t been why he’d asked.

- It’s just that it’s your life too, you know?
- Thanks.

They’d reached the airport soon after, where Ivan had given him a short xeroxed history of capoeira as a ‘reading assignment’ to pass the time and get an idea of what he’d gotten himself into on the plane with. Klein had slept for the entire trip. He’d stayed up for a bit listening to a few stories about it before Ivan had gone to sleep in the other hotel room bed, he’d lied down on his side with a flashlight and his head on a pillow so he’d be comfortable enough to read for a while, and before he’d known it, the alarm clock had abruptly lifted his dozing face from it at the crack of dawn. He’d shaken off half-remembered dreams of bulletproof shapeshifters on his way to his first lesson cursing himself for his oversight.

- Don’t worry about it, it’s better to learn by experience anyway.
- You’re just saying any good thing you can think of about everything so I’ll be more confident, aren’t you?
- That depends, is it working?
- Now that you’ve told me what you’re doing, not very well, no.
- You have to do what you can with what you have where you are, don’t you?
- But why should I be confident if I know it’s not justified?
- The more confident you are, the better you’ll do at this, so it will be justified. Remember when I told you that if teachers treat children like idiots they shouldn’t be surprised when that’s what they grow up to be?
- Yeah.
- I believe that cuts both ways.
- I see what you’re saying, but that can’t be all it takes.
- Of course not. It’s not enough to put in effort or to receive help from others to succeed, but you’ll be getting all the help you’ll need for this here and now, and you’re likelier to put in effort if you believe you’re good enough for it to lead to something, am I wrong?
- Is that what you meant when you told me that I shouldn’t be afraid of anything?

Ivan had furrowed his brow trying to remember something.

- Did I ever tell you that, Klein? I know you’re not lying but I can’t imagine myself having said that for some reason.
- Maybe not exactly in those words.
- You’re probably right. It’s the damnedest thing, I can remember tons of song lyrics, quotes and stories but I can’t remember what I told you that time. Sometimes I feel like I spend so much time confusing others that I end up confusing even myself.
- I’m sure it’ll come back to you.
- I’ve got it on the tip of my tongue but I just can’t place it.
- Did you say that fear was always my enemy?
- Yes! That’s it.
- How is that different from telling me I shouldn’t ever be afraid of anything, though?
- Everyone’s afraid of something, Klein. That’s what makes myths and the fear they cause such powerful weapons in the first place. No one is completely immune to them, no matter how much they may say they are.
- Aren’t there real things to be legitimately afraid of, though?
- The world is filled with them.
- So what’s wrong with being afraid?
- Being afraid is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Then I’m afraid you’ve lost me.
- Let me put it this way: have you seen both horror movies and kung fu movies?
- I don’t like violence a lot so I haven’t seen many of either, but I’ve seen a few, yeah.
- Have you noticed the difference between the reactions that people have in both?
- Kind of. How do you mean?
- When you’re watching a horror movie, you know you’re watching a horror movie, and that makes every protagonist a potential victim in your mind from the very beginning. Somehow I get the impression that they know this too. When they see the monster or the killer, their reaction is to scream in terror, freeze like deer in headlights or run away clumsily, and they’re brutally slaughtered.
- Instant box office success.
- Personally I don’t think the protagonists deserve to die, but then that’s exactly what makes their loss such a damn shame to my eyes.
- I don’t think that’s a bad distinction to make, now that you mention it.
- In kung fu movies, when the monster or killer comes, the protagonist’s reaction is to fight back, shout a battle cry or find a way to run which works. Of course, protagonists die in kung fu movies too, but I still think they have more chances on their side and that their lives are better for it before they die.
- I think I see what you’re saying, yeah.
- I’ve always wanted to see someone in a horror movie refuse fear as authority and just kick those creepy masked killers in the nuts and poke their eyes out. After all, it’s just a mask with a regular person under it, isn’t it?
- So basically your advice to me is ‘be in a kung fu movie’?
- You’ll get to shoot fireballs from your hands and fly through the air!
- Metaphorically speaking.
- Yes.
- Just making sure.
- No problem.
- How do I stop being typecast as a horror movie actor and get noticed by kung fu movie directors?
- Part of that is the directors’ decisions, part of those is in the public’s eye, and part of that depends on how you market yourself. That part can be tricky, but it’s the only part you can affect directly, isn’t it?
- I guess.
- And hey, if you happen to see another part of it you can affect, you don’t need my permission for it, do you?
- You know, I guess I don’t.
- Maybe you should get an agent.
- Maybe, but I’d have to star in a lot of horror movies to be able to afford to pay one, wouldn’t I?
- I admit they’re unpleasant to star in, but you can still walk away from a movie yourself to star in another one later even after your character dies, right?
- As long as it doesn't turn out to have been a snuff film, yeah.
Amelia: Real Men Fight Hippospadparadscha on December 28th, 2006 06:24 am (UTC)
:) I remember commenting that the reason characters in horror movies act like such morons is because they don't realize they're IN a horror movie. Most of the time you don't figure on a weird noise in your own basement to be the Alien From Space who's going to eat you, so you wouldn't think twice about investigating it.

My friend Josh the Movie Guy had an interesting thing to say about horror movies. He didn't like The Grudge (which I never saw) precisely because there was no way to 'beat' the curse. He said that the fun of horror movies is knowing there's some way out of this mess, and yet not being able to achieve it. If the characters know there's nothing they can do, he argues, they become resigned. If they think there's a chance, they'll take it. (I prefer that they succeed, but then it wouldn't be a horror movie, I suppose.)

Of course, I always wish they'd have someone who thinks like me in one of those movies. Have you ever seen that miniseries The 10th Kingdom? The basic premise is that two New Yorkers fall into the world of Grimms' Fairy Tales. My favorite part in the entire thing is a point where our heroes and their guide, the Big Bad Wolf, reach a pair of doors with a frog presiding over it. The frog gives them a riddle: "One door leads the way you wish to go. The other leads to a horrible death. You may ask me one question, but I always lie." While the wolf and one of the heroes try to decide how to work out this puzzle, the other says, "Yeah, I have a question: WHAT IS THE POINT of a door with a horrible death behind it? What purpose does it even serve?" I always identified with his tirade. It seemed the most sensible question to ask.