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When the Timer Goes Off…

Posted by on July 12, 2010

Joe’s at Fish Camp.  Huzzah!  I mean seriously, the lead-up to yesterday’s shoving-off was almost comical in its busyness.  And now that he’s safely among those great young people, I can breathe a huge sigh of relief.  Don’t get me wrong…I miss him…but it’s a relief to get a lot of other things back to “normal”.  Health is returning, and sleep is equalizing.  After taking Joe to my folks’ for his ride out to camp with my dad, we four went to church and then came home, where I turned naptime into a cleaning frenzy.  I am ashamed at how much needed to be done (and still does!) but as I said, having all the sick kids and camp prep left no time for cleaning for weeks and weeks.  It’s a miracle the dishes got washed during that time.  But things are definitely looking better around here today, and I’m trying to embrace the bee in my bonnet and see just how clean I can make things.  Before Joe comes home and dumps all the camp stuff all over the place.

I promised myself that I would watch a movie every night this week for the project.  It almost didn’t happen last night, as Maxwell was missing his Papa so much he just couldn’t go to sleep.  Poor guy.  He’s such a Papa’s boy.  I mean, I don’t even know any of the answers to his multitude of D & D questions.  I think he only keeps me around for the food, frankly.  But I finally convinced him that Papa was well and so were we, even while apart, and exhaustion took over.  I settled into a movie called TiMER

This is a movie I stuck in our streaming Netflix queue because it looked quirky, and it was delightful.  The basic premise is this: in an alternate reality (the future? Didn’t seem like it…) there is a device that many people have implanted on their wrists which tells them the number of days, hours, and minutes until they will meet their one true love.  It essentially goes to zeros at midnight of the day you will meet your “One”, and then when you make eye contact with that person both your TiMERs will make noise.  The main character, Oona (can I just interrupt to say how much I love that name?  Because I do!) has a TiMER, but it’s just flashing dashes because her “One” has not yet been implanted with a device.  For the time being, this orthodontist shares an apartment with her spunky step-sister and best friend, Steph, whose own timer is set to go off in 15 years.  The gals have very different philosophies about their plight.  Oona dates TiMER-less men carefully for a little while before taking them to the center to be implanted and see if they are her “One”.  Obviously, this has not worked for her.  Steph has a series of one-nighters while biding her 15 years.  Oona thinks of this as cheating in a way, and doesn’t think it’s worthwhile to spend time with anyone who’s not “The One”.

Oona meets Mikey, who’s a market checkout guy 8 years her junior.  Oy.  He’s got a TiMER set to go off in 4 months, but for some reason Oona starts a thing with him.  They are a weird couple: orthodontist and checkout-guy/drummer in a band.  She’s markedly more adult than he.  But he shows her how to have fun and be spontaneous.  Steph thinks Oona is crazy for having a prolonged relationship with a guy that will inevitably end in heartache, as his TiMER continues counting down to his inevitable encounter with his soul mate. 

I won’t give any more of the plot away, for those of you who want to take a gander at this charming little indie movie.  But I will say that this movie got me thinking.  A LOT.  The basic underlying premise of the TiMER is that people never again will have to deal with heartbreak if they have one of these implanted.  It will protect them from making “bad” choices when it comes to love.  Oona’s 14-year-old brother has an implant on his birthday, as the law allows, and meets his soulmate within the week.  So here’s a 14-year-old boy with no prior experience who now has the knowledge that a stranger is his “One”.  He doesn’t have to date other girls.  He only has to interact (uncomfortably, at that) with the very sweet girl who is his match.  What would that be like?  If such a device existed, would you be willing to have one implanted?

What would we all miss if this was a reality?  It is a well-known fact that I wear my heart completely on my sleeve.  And I’m melodramatic.  And a hopeless romantic.  Doesn’t that sound like a great recipe for heartache?  Believe me when I say: it is.  I have had my heart busted right up so many times I’m loathe to admit it.  It makes me sound so boy-crazy to talk about it.  But I find so much beauty in people and love very easily.  Would I have traded all my heartaches for this device?  If I did believe in “The One” (which, though I’m so happily married it’s ridiculous, I don’t) it stands to reason that my TiMER might have gone off in my 8th grade physics or Spanish class (I don’t recall which one came earlier in the day) when I locked eyes with Joe for the first time that day. 

We would never have had our own tumultuous journey because we would both be absolutely assured of the “rightness” of our union.  I would never have had all my gay ex-boyfriends.  I would never have had a wonderful though brief relationship with the German exchange student with whom I spent many a night discussing the validity of this very premise of “The One” (a relationship which, as this is me we’re talking about here, ended awkwardly because I was a moron about relationships).  I would have been spared all my angsty nights of tear-dampened pillows and horrible poetry authorship (or worse still: songwriting!)

But would you want to miss all that?  Would you choose to miss out on the all-too-educational pain?  I’m afraid to think of how little I might know about myself now if I hadn’t lived through what I did.  So my answer is no.  I wonder what your answer might be?

5 Responses to When the Timer Goes Off…

  1. Angie

    I am going to have to stream this! What an interesting thought . . .but I will wait to see the movie before I give my answer. . .

  2. Manda

    I’m not sure what the answer is, but I’m really glad you got me thinking about this…

  3. Shawna

    I plucked out this on-line movie from netflix this week too (weird!). I actually felt really bad for the little brother. I mean, even though they played it like it would probably work out okay, I’m thinking “boring.” I think there was also this implied premise that couples really couldn’t screw up the relationship as long as they stayed with their One. I think just because you may believe that there is a “meant to be” person out there for you in terms of fit, doesn’t mean you can’t mess it up. I think meeting at age 14 could really mess things up for some couples.

    If this technology ever would exist. . . maybe something to consider getting in your thirties if still single and more serious about finding a partner, and after enough personal pain (and growth) goes by.

    I’d agree, Courtney, I think we need those years and experiences of the unknown.

  4. Crazy Aunt Linda

    I speak of the pompetus of love. Whatever the hell that is. Hmmm…when I met Mr. Bill I certainly had NO IDEA he was “the one” and the family was just so relieved that I had finally met a nice guy with all his teeth! I am NOT much of a romantic and if I had married before I was 30 it would have been a “disastah’due to the fact that I was very easily distracted! Sometimes “Love Stinks” Sometimes “Love is a Battlefield” but, if you’re lucky, it finds you and maybe you are paying attention for once.

  5. Carolyn

    I think Joe is a very very lucky man.

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