anomie / noun lack of the usual social or ethical standards to an individual or group.
I read this word on the back of Stuart Ross's novel, Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew. The protagonist's life is described as comprised of "childhood summers at a Central Ontario cottage, teenage anomie in a Toronto suburb, [and a] a disastrous university career..."
Interestingly, in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, this entry appears on the opposite page of the entry for Anka, Paul Albert (b. 1941). Canadian-born singer and songwriter, famous since his teens for songs such as 'Diana', 'Puppy Love', 'Lonely Boy', and Frank Sinatra's 'My Way'.
Back on June 30, 2009, some work colleagues and I were out on an airy Toronto patio, raising a glass to the long weekend we were all about to enjoy. I was sitting near a woman named Nasrin, a woman who worked on the same floor but as me but on a different team. In fact, I'd only ever interacted with her at departmental social events. I always found myself gravitating toward her because let's just say that not everyone in IT is quite as charismatic or charming as she is!
That night, she turned to me and exclaimed, "We should start a movie meetup group!" She already belonged to a number of Meetup groups, including one about movies, but they always met on the weekend, and she “already had a life on Saturday and Sunday!” Why not the middle of the week? Meet more people! See more movies! Those sounded like good goals to me. I proposed Tuesdays, hoping for some theatres still offered discounts on Tuesdays, and the next day, “Tuesday Night at the Movies” was born!
Fast forward to July 2011, and here we were, celebrating our two-year anniversary! We decided to eschew the dark theatre for once and instead headed straight to a patio to celebrate! I definitely felt I had a couple of things to celebrate. Not only had I seen all the Oscar nominees the previous two winters, and I could now tell Ryan Gosling apart from Ryan Reynolds and Amy Adams from Rachel McAdams. I knew from the trailers which romantic comedies to avoid (anything not indie with Kate Hudson). In fact, I learned to avoid most comedy trailers because they give away the best jokes. I expanded my repertoire of cinematic masters like Kurosawa. I watched my first Hungarian movie, which prominently featured a rotting whale carcass and the longest walking shots I’ve ever seen. I learned that some of the least enjoyable films made for the liveliest discussions.
Beyond my newfound cinematic expertise, I had also met an incredible variety of fellow Torontonians, most of them a real joy to be around. Now some of my best friends are people I first met when their heads popped up in the RSVP pane. In a given week, ten to thirty movie lovers seek out “Beth and Nasrin wearing their meetup pins standing by the customer service desk” and get checked in and introduced all around. We discovered that we like the social part so much that we tack on a pub night after nearly every movie.
I knew I’d see more movies (I did!) I was hoping to make more friends (did I ever!) But the thing I wasn’t expecting was a great sense of pride and community and a humbling gratitude from my meetup members. They are truly grateful at the work we put in, week to week: they compliment our taste in movies, congratulate us on the fun, prize-filled parties we throw for our anniversaries, Christmastime and the Oscars, and they volunteer as guest hosts here and there so that we won’t get burned out. Being a leader of movie nights out has been incredibly fulfilling.
Back to the anniversary party, it was shaping up with the makings of a great TNAM night out: a stellar cast of friendly, movie-loving Torontonians, a beautiful, delicious setting (Grand Hive Mansion on Jarvis street), and a warm summer night. It may have lacked some of the usual cinematic clichés: no car chases, no dramatic confessions, and nobody fell in love (as far as I noticed). But as far as pure fun with friends, I gave it two thumbs up - way up!
We played movie trivia, mingled, and drank wine into the early hours of the following workday. Past midnight, anyway! Although the night won't inspire anyone to write "Hangover 3" (oh, please no!) I will keep this memory fondly among the many great memories I have made with “Tuesday Night at the Movies”.
Next week: Thomas Crowne. No, I mean Larry Crowne, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. i keep doing that!
About this blog
I'll use this space to write about movies, bikes, communications trends, pop culture, and my adventures as a new New Yorker.