Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Maya and Me

This is Coco. "Cocus". "Cokey me lokes". Cocus me locus. The coke meister. Simply: "Cokes"
She was a very important part of our lives, before, during and after reading "Marley and Me". We adopted her from friends when she was around 9. They got a younger chocolate and they both wanted to be the top queen. Experts say only 10 percent of labs will point when they find game, like pheasant, before they flush them. I personally saw Coco hold a point on a pheasant for over ten seconds. We were just looking for a guard dog after we felt threatened in our old Vallejo neighborhood.
When I met Coco, she had to hang out on the front porch. This picture is from Cokies last day. She just went for a walk and relief out back and then was content to hang out front, watching the world go by like she always did. Montana, our yellah lab, is now just over two and a duck retrieving machine. I don't know who misses Cokies more though, us or her. I'm sure there's pheasant for you in heaven old cokes.

Marley and Me was a tremendous relationship experience for me and my lovely wife Maya. It was almost eerie the manner in which the storyline reflected our own lives: chasing careers and real estate, “nesting” in preparation for the baby, having the babies, raising the babies, moving out of an unsafe neighborhood and watching the Labrador grow, exponentially, alongside the kids and family and, for the finale of course, the tear jerking vet scene.
We had planned on seeing the film for awhile. Maya put it down in “the book” for Christmas day. After we had opened our presents, Thank You. I had read the book when it came out, so of course I tried to read half of it to her at night. She remembered a few of the better scenes that she couldn’t help herself from laughing at. Especially the scene where Marley ate the diamond necklace he had bought for his wife. In the book, the author describes how, after Marley had extricated the necklace and said author had dutifully rinsed it clean, the Diamond Necklace came out polished like Boss Hog’s Cadillac! It's OK to laugh at your own jokes according to the "Me" in the movie.
I guess when you’re covering 13 or 14 years of your life’s stories, it might be hard to fit them all into a two hour movie, but I was a little disappointed at the omission of many of my favorite points the author made. Then again, maybe I was just trying to sound smart, telling everyone around me who would listen, “well, in the book…” Really, it is a very good book and there’s more to the movie la di da a da...
So, there’s a dialogue going on between “Me” and his wife (wife of “ME”?) And it is so damn dead on: “Maya and Me” that we’re both just keeling over laughing. Of course, we’d got there late and had to sit in the front seats (seizures anyone?). Before we even get up the ramp, Maya is yakking about something and then say’s out loud, “ Oh, It HAS STARTED!” and then realizes that the entire theater is watching her, annoyed. And if you know Maya, she is the last one who enjoys being embarrassed, especially by a thousand solemn faces, ghoulishly illuminated by the big screens alien bluish glare. My wife is denying this part of the story as I edit it.
Any wayz, we sit in the front and father in law Paul looks bluer than the screen. He steps out to get some fresh air. He’s like, “Man, this front row stuff is killing me.’ Meanwhile, Maya and Me are on each end of the group, Maya is near the center and Me is by the aisle. (By the way, capitalizing Me when I’m talking about me is cool. Or even when I’m talking about the “Me” from the movies, it’s pretty empowering.) Darin (brother in law) is to my left next to Debra (mother in law), Tam (sister of "Me" cuz I'm just like the guy) and then Maya (already talked about her).
Well, during the hilarious parts, it’s fine that we’re on opposite ends of the group, but also strange because it seemed that Maya and Me were the only ones in the entire theater busting our guts. Everybody must have been thinking: “those two must be married and fight just like these two strung out, sleep deprived, maniacal parents who decided to have one kid to many and are now having to pay for it”. I don’t know for sure what anyone else was thinking but I know I was laughing my ass off and laughing even harder because Maya couldn’t stop glancing over at me, making us both laugh even more vigorously.
Then a funny thing happened. The movie shifted gears and suddenly both of us were having flashbacks to putting down our beloved “Coco” only months ago. They were placing Marley gingerly into the back of the station wagon. Just as we had done for “old cocus” and petted her and kept her safe until we had to say goodbye. What a freakin' tear jerker! Now we’re both balling and (cue the chariots of fire music) I stand up and run to my wife. My companion. My Marley. My partner in this crazy thing we call life. La Vida Loca. And I sit next to her and we hold hands and cry together. Knowing we’ve truly shared an experience that is worthy of the best story tellers, the best stories. I don’t know if there’s a saying in Spanish for that.