I used to be terribly cynical about Romeo and Juliet, and adaptations thereof. “But you only met yesterday!” I’d cry. “What did you expect to happen?” I would wonder whether anybody really thought that the state of affairs in Verona would be materially improved. I would side-eye people who held up R. and J. as Most Romantic Couple, etc.
It occurred to me, yesterday, watching West Side Story, that I’d missed the point. Of course people are always falling in love in a wildly inappropriate fashion. Of course it rarely ends well. However, in a well-regulated society, not ending well does not involve people getting killed. Romeo and Juliet (or Tony and Maria, or whoever) are young and hopelessly over-optimistic, yes, but if they weren’t also in the middle of a war zone it would be a farce, not a tragedy.
There were two points to this post:
1. I seem to be getting less cynical as I get older;
2. I had forgotten about this song:
I used to see the irony in it. Now I hear the hope. It’s an interesting contrast to the equivalent speech in Romeo and Juliet, in which Romeo also knows there’s something coming, but is as gloomy as all get-out about it. I prefer Tony’s take on it, going out to meet it head-on, in joyful expectation. I’m not convinced he isn’t right, either. What’s coming to him doesn’t work in the world in which he lives, but it doesn’t stop it being good.
It resonates, too, with the wild feeling of possibility and hope that I associate with Advent. It is probably significant that I was reading back through godblog‘s Destuckification Novena yesterday, before we went out to the theatre, and that I’m feeling increasingly that it is time and more to move on… I don’t know what’s coming. Nor could I stop it, if I did. All I can do is go out and meet it. It’s an attitude I’ve been trying to practice for a year or so, now, and it works so much better for me than hiding and observing.
Come on, something, come on in, don’t be shy, meet a guy, pull up a chair…