And as I think about the movie "Angels Crest" I think about how the place where the movie takes place affects me.
It is a universal reaction in my soul and I don't quite understand it.
The town is located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and it is a typical, rural, small community.
A town where houses are run down, and old, where everybody drives beat up pick up trucks, where nobody has any money and where everybody is struggling and where the corner bar is a basic no frills hangout.
Two movies Carol and I love, "Nobody's Fool" and "Beautiful Girls" are set in similar locations.If I had the energy to think long and hard I'm sure I could come up with fifty additional movies I have seen that take place in rural towns, movies that moved me.
I don't have that kind of energy right now.
Here's the deal: I love the movies for the story and for the characters but the location is like another character to me. I love the look of the houses, the sound of a slamming door on an old pick up truck and the sound the engine makes and how the truck looks.
I love the corner bars. Bars are antiseptic today, devoid of character. I crave old corner bars, I need them. I spent many years drinking in a bar called Manginis - a real bar - and I miss it. I'll probably never set foot in another bar like it and my soul shrivels to know this.
Character is the word. Small town living reeks of character and authenticity.
These towns provoke a reaction in my gut. A feeling, a warmth, a comfort. It is possible that it is all about truth.
It seems like there is more honesty in settings like that, people who live small and rely on straight ahead honesty to survive.
And trust. A small town with a tiny population where everybody knows everybody else and their business.
Of course I am dramatizing the reality; I'm sure many things in small towns suck just like they do anywhere else and in the same way.
Still, my emotions and my mind respond. Just like desert scenes. Any desert scene or movie set in a desert moves me. It feels like my body is saying "this is where I belong." The reaction comes from the gut, not the mind. So I believe it is genuine.
I watch these movies and think that I would love to live in these small places but I am not convinced I am being honest with myself.
I don't want to live in poverty.
Although I joke about it, Carol and I don't live in poverty. We live a solid middle class existence.
The kind that traps and cripples you. You live comfortable enough but you still got to drag your ass out of bed every day to earn the bucks to maintain this middle of the road lifestyle, like a hamster on a wheel.
It is a life of humble comfort, a life that can never approach luxury, seasoned with a healthy dose of financial anxiety and no chance ever of living independently and with dignity.
A strange place to dwell.
Still, if I lived in a rural town, if I had to scramble, maybe it would draw out whatever true character lurks in my soul.
If not, at least I could get a cheap shot of whiskey in a funky bar that speaks to my soul.
There are worse things in life.