Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Interlude

The other two are passed out on the bed here in our room in the Brentwood in the suburb of Kilbirnie, on our first day in Wellington. It's the third such first day, only this one is for real, the start of something new and unknown and wholly welcomed. We're staying at the Brentwood, a little hotel (by American standards), the only one between downtown Wellington and Miramar, because of a new friend we met through an old one. We arrived like vagabonds, tired and hungry, only to find out, after finding the promised free wi-fi, that a van was already awaiting us.

There have been many such unexpected bits of goodness along this particular way. As anyone who voted for me in the Your Big Break filmmaking competition (or for that matter, simply registered) already knows,  I was not one of the five finalists. Disappointing, yes. But for me the entire experience was tremendous, a fun and productive challenge, something I decided to do--had no choice but to do--on top of selling our house and innumerable other tasks. I was pleased with my work--no mean feat--for a contest whose very existence, at this time, seemed providential.

And so I found myself feeling very grateful for the opportunity to share my work, my perspective, my take on what New Zealand means--within the context of an advertising slogan. The anticipation of the results, while wrapping up my corporate work; saying farewells as best I could in a limited time; searching for answers for friends and family; moving in with friends and moving on.

On Wednesday, however, I was not feeling much gratitude when we learned, at the gate in San Francisco, about what I shall lovingly refer to as the passport glitch, and how a year's labor seemed suddenly jeopardized. And yet: the resulting delay, the postponement of our flight, the walk back from G93 . . . all these meant that I was in the perfect time and place in the South Court to meet, and thank, Barrie Osborne, the producer of The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings . . . and also Your Big Break. Barrie Osborne. What a gracious man. 

The next day, after spending a good part of the afternoon resolving the passport glitch, we wandered around looking for dinner. I had it in my head that Indian was the necessary cuisine (Italian was right out), and so, after inquiring at a nearby hotel, we proceeded past the Transamerica Pyramid in search of a restaurant that with each block seemed less and less likely to exist. 

I paused at a corner building. I noticed a plaque that described it as the home of Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope studio since 1972. This was interesting, I thought, but then my eye caught another Indian restaurant across the street. Not until Jenifer pointed out, quite rightly, that we were standing at the  front door of Cafe Zoetrope, Francis Ford Coppola's restaurant, did I see that maybe we should go in and enjoy some Italian food. 

And so we did. I enjoyed the best chicken caesar salad I've ever had, as well as an '07 Pinot Grigio. The previous 24 hours had been a mite stressful. And so we are enjoying the atmosphere, the photographs, the awards, and saying things like Barrie Osborne, when in strolls the Master himself. He moves to the rear of the cafe and disappears from view. Not until we leave do we see him again, sitting alone at an outside table and on the phone. There is no need to interrupt him, of course, but Hawk waves and delivers a bright "Hi!" and Francis waves back. A blessing.

Getting to Wellington has been a journey of persistent groundlessness. Again and again I am reminded that thinking I have some measure of control in the whole affair is rather pointless. You do what you can and then move on. Breathing is also helpful. Every seeming obstacle, every delay, every hysteria-inducing complication has meant that good stuff was on the way.  Two unplanned days in San Francisco turned out to be the perfect way to get to New Zealand, right on time.

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Blogger Eric D. Lehman said...

You can't possibly not see these two encounters as good karma for your Wellywood ventures. I mean...c'mon! And I'm a cynic!

9:15 AM  
Blogger Brett said...

With six billion humans skittering around the surface of this rock, I always look at every chance meeting with a person of interest or value to be yet stronger suggestion of the existence of some great spirit out there -- one with a sly and twisted sense of humor.

One day I'll have to see this New Improved Z-Land all the kids are flocking to.


6:40 AM  
Blogger Ryan Rasmussen said...

Sometimes you wonder if you're on track and sometimes you simply know.

If you should ever want to MOVE, Brett, make sure you do so within the decade. There are rules about these things, you know.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Sibley said...

I really hope all this works out for you, Ryan. It is a place where - as Unca' Walt would say - dreams really do come true! And, who knows, maybe, one day, we'll even meet up in The Shire! Good luck!

4:26 AM  
Blogger Ryan Rasmussen said...

Thank you, Brian! We've already had such a Great Adventure...and it'd be a great treat some fine day to enjoy wondrous tales over Elevensies!

3:24 AM  

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