Day to Day Living
“Any idiot can handle a crisis–it’s this day-to-day living that wears you out.”
— Anton Chekhov
Most movies, most TV shows, most productions, are about The Moment. They’re about the death, the birth, the big game, the finish line, the culmination of a project, the first flight, the raising of the barn, the graduation, the triumph or tragedy that is the definition of an entire life. The music swells, the hero steps on stage, executes the perfect move, and we fade to black.
Treme, just like the Wire, just like that space show with the hot chick I like, just like most of the really good stuff I read, is about the day to day living. About not one moment but a hundred of them, crashing over you, a thousand tiny things: the contractor not showing up, the tools getting stolen, the paperwork lost, the hot water crapping out, playing in the airport, finding an old friend, the omelette getting burned.
It’s why this show snuck up on me, I think: it’s the sum total of what’s happening that makes up The Moment. And the sum total of someone’s character on the show isn’t how they act once, but how they act over and over and over again. It’s why Sonny sucks and LaDonna’s awesome: he keeps falling down and she keeps getting up. Not once, but a hundred times.
A lot of people are good at The Grand Gesture, in no small part because our entire pop culture is about that, about holding a boombox over your head in the early morning fog. They’re good at being the Hero. It’s being just the third guy from the left, in the day to day living, that will fuck them up every time.