How Burnt Reminded You That You Could Have Been Better
You're sitting at your desk. Framed photographs are pressed against the wall behind it; mother, father, brother, wife, and kid, all smiling at you in perpetuity. And you stare at them smile at you for a couple minutes before you decide you should really get back to work and by get back to work, you really mean that you should start to procrastinate.
During the hour you spend stealing time from the company you work for, you check the latest movie news on the blogs you've bookmarked. And one of them grabs your attention. It feels like an ethereal hand extended from the screen and put you in a Muay Thai clinch and said, click here, click here.
So you did. And the next two minutes you watched Bradley Cooper struggle with being a really good chef that's trying to succeed but at the same time he's very complex because he has addiction issues. And you remember, the only complexities worth exploring are ones that are surrounded by drug abuse. And as you "watched" the trailer (watched is in quotation marks because you are reading and you can't really hear the tone of my voice*) you remembered your youth. Remember the way you'd sit on your father's bed, wrapped in a bed sheet (you looked like a ghost), watching all the cooking shows on PBS.
You wouldn't blink. You'd awkwardly tap the flat mattress in front of you, looking for a bowl of potato chips your mother had given you and asked you not to spill but here you are knocking your fingers left and right almost slapping the bed in an angry type of hunger until you finally submerge your hand into a bowl of Sour Cream & Onion Ruffles.
You loved learning how to cook even though you never put it into practice (you were only probably, maybe 5 or 6 years old). Every night for a week, you'd sit on a stool next to the stove while your mother or your father would cook. And you'd yell at them to pretend the stained, yellow tile in front of them was a camera or a studio audience. You'd ask them not to tell you how to cook, but to tell "them". And now. You know you won't cook when you get home. You still haven't learned. You'll order something the same way you do every Monday night because you're too tired, too exhausted from work**. That's the thing, too. You still dream of what it would have been like if you pursued your dream instead of something that literally anyone can do.
You think about what it would be like to actually, truly, and honestly create something with your hands instead of use them to tap plastic buttons connected to another piece of plastic that you have to stare at for 8-10 hours a day. You start to daydream and think about the way you'd call yourself an artist.
The same way Bradley Cooper wants his restaurant to be an experience, you imagine your food to be an experience and not just something your friends and family inhale for nourishment. It's not just nutrients, it's a story, a song, a musical, a movie, a novel. You think about that, long and hard. You picture having your on FOX reality show where you tell young people how to cook properly and how to be artists in the kitchen. You quickly fall back out of your memories. The warm embrace of the bed sheet around your body, the fuzz on the CRT television, and the way those potato chips crunched and slid down your throat, they're all gone. You're back in the office now.
The wall in front of you, covered in frames, is cold and uninviting. You wish you could go back, like all men and women do when they find themselves working a menial job. You look around your cubicle and there's Kevin, behind you, making another dumb, slightly racist joke and telling the same banal story about his weekend you've heard every other Monday this month.
You look down at your hands and think about what you haven't created and how you won't change because you aren't as young as you used to be and you don't have the freedom you used to have and you do wish that you did and knew better back then but honestly, you didn't and you never will.
All you really know is that nothing will change and that you will watch Burnt when it's in theaters on October 23rd, 2015. *The sound of my voice is an intriguing thing. In that instance, I said the word "watched" as if it was a slow dance. But not a particularly good slow dance. It was the first slow dance you've ever experienced. You remember, right? You didn't know where to put your hands and she looked at you like she didn't want to be that close to your face. You had breathed a little heavier than usual because this was the first time a person that wasn't your mom put their arms around you. And well, it was awkward. An awkward circle, a sad dance. And that's how I said "watched". Wa-aaa-aaa-tttt-chh-ed. **It's funny that you still tell your friends and family that you are "exhausted" after a day of work. You remember what it's like to actually be exhausted from work. You used to lift boxes all day. And the one time you actually worked in a restaurant, you didn't cook. You just hustled plates from one end to the other, running with rubber soles so you wouldn't slip, plates of salads and cakes and you hoped that they'd put you on the line but no one had any confidence in you. They thought it a waste of time to teach you, someone that knows nothing, someone that isn't assertive and sure of themselves. And the truth is, you aren't. You're kind of a mess. Yeah, you say you want these things for yourself but here you are, telling your friends your "exhausted" when you literally sit a desk and slap a keyboard all day. What's tiring about spreadsheets? Explain that to me. Please.