My seven-year-old daughter shares my dislike of those moments in a movie when things start going wrong. When the hero decides to explore the spooky basement, or an argument starts to brew, or (her least favorite) kids start doing something that could get them in trouble. Sometimes she even holds up her hands to her ears to block out the sounds, her eyes still fixed on the screen in fascination. She can watch superheroes confront the scariest villains without blinking an eye, but a kid tracking mud through the house will send her scurrying for the exit.
After watching her develop this habit, I realized where it came from: in the Harry Potter books, for example, I always wish I could just keep reading about the lovely holiday feasts and trips to Hogsmeade, without dark forces distracting from the fun. I get especially frustrated when someone does something that obviously puts them in danger or will otherwise turn out badly. In other words, I like my characters risk-adverse, or at least highly sensible, and I somehow passed on that predilection to my kid.
However, she is also her father’s daughter, and she’s learning from him. We watched a movie together the other day where the protagonist ignores strict instructions not to explore a certain part of the castle, and when I complained at this hard-hardedness, my daughter half-turned her head in my direction and said dismissively, “Mamá. No habría película.”
There’d be no movie. If our heroine had been sensible, we wouldn’t be watching this.
It’s something my husband says all the time. Since my daughter reminded me of it over the weekend, I’ve been thinking that maybe I need to say it to myself a bit more often in my daily life.
Why am I having to learn certain life lessons again, and again, and again? If it had been easier, pues, no habría película.
Why didn’t I make a smarter move, years ago, that would have changed the way certain things turned out? No habría película.
I’m going to try making this my mantra the next time I think to myself, “If only I’d…” It’s not a Costa Rican phrase, but of course, the matter-of-factness behind it is quintessentially tico. Shame spirals are not too popular here, which is, I think, why at least some of the country’s population wears Costa Rica’s official religion rather lightly.
Anyway, that’s my deep thought for the day. Does it ring true for you?
Featured image from Mi Costa Rica de Antaño’s piece on the Cine Magaly, which I highly recommend! Read it here.
I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; learn how to join my Overwhelmed Writers’ League, every Saturday at 1 pm EST; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! To learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section – or for ways to enjoy Costa Rica from afar, visit Virtual Costa Rica.