Passing time with Bridget Jones

This weekend I binge-watched the Bridget Jones trilogy (2001, 2004, 2016), about 5 years later (or earlier?) than I should’ve. The hiatus between the second and the third is a tragedy in itself. Things decay. Bridget (Renée Zellweger) no longer keeps a paper diary, she has an iPad. There’s no way Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) would accidentally read it now. Unless he cracked her iPad password (which, to be fair, is probably MarkDarcy). Bridget knows what to wear and when to wear it. No more transparent tops at work. She gives witty speeches. The “Eastern European models” in the audience look puzzled as Bridget eulogizes Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). She doesn’t fall in love as easily, nor as madly as when she was young. Bridget is no fool.

A police car and a screaming siren
A pneumatic drill and ripped up concrete
A baby wailing and stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamp light blinking

That’s entertainment, that’s entertainment

“Which Bridget is better?” is the same as asking “Are you conservative or progressive?” Are you nostalgic over the blue soup dinner, Bridget’s smoking, her silly job as a TV presenter, her inappropriate family friends, her too-tight golden mermaid dress, her sweet jealousy over girls “with legs up to here”, birthday surprises from friends, impromptu dinners and trips to Thailand? I am. Does it leave a bitter taste in your mouth the fact that she’s on Tinder? That she has sex with a stranger at a festival? That people dance to Gangnam style at christenings? It does.

Days of speed and slow time Monday’s
Pissing down with rain on a boring Wednesday
Watching the news and not eating your tea
A freezing cold flat and damp on the walls

I say that’s entertainment, that’s entertainment

Things decay. But it’s easy to idealise the past. In 2120, someone will find the 2020s as charmful as we find the 1920s, for sure. That’s the only consolation we can hope for: that our grandchildren will maybe find our idiosyncrasies endearing. One way to contribute towards this consolation is to find the beauty of the times we live in. Epictetus was right saying “it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”. On this note, Bridget would have benefited much from reading the stoics. We all would. But then we’d be too nostalgic over blue soup to enjoy Gangnam style.

Waking up at six AM on a cool warm morning
Opening the windows and breathing in petrol
An amateur band rehearsing in a nearby yard
Watching the telly and thinking about your holidays

That’s entertainment, that’s entertainment



P.S. The blog that nobody was supposed to ever read now has a reader. But I made a promise to myself to continue writing as if nobody was reading. Bridget is still a fool.

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