When I was younger, my mom took me to see the movie Bread & Tulips at a local independent movie theater. I wasn’t really at the right age to appreciate a foreign film (it’s an Italian movie) or some of the struggles the main character Rosalba goes through during the course of the story. I think I was in a bit of a grumpy mood (subtitles will do that to a pre-teen), but I do remember certain parts of the movie very clearly. The views of Venice are amazing, the characters have some very funny lines and moments of physical comedy. What really sticks out, however, is a scene where Grazia (the best friend/supporting character) is gushing to Rosalba about the new guy she just met. She really thinks this is the one; he might not be the most handsome fella in the world, but he makes her heart go pitter patter. The real deal-maker, though? “He’s a plumber!” Grazia whispers to Rosalba excitedly–in the same sort of voice a woman might use to tell her best friend “He loves cuddling and doing laundry!” She’s giddy with love, but something else, too: she sees the answer to all her plumbing problems.
I’ve been having problems with my computer. Today, it froze twice. The first time, the screen blacked out, leaving me staring at my reflection and making mewing noises of distress. The second time, it froze with all stuff still on the screen. I watched the swirling cursor, mesmerized into a horrible paralysis. My computer know-how is very limited. I’ve been using Internet Explorer, for instance, which is apparently so lame that all the cool computer nerds know to hate it. And remember my tragic mishap with the delete button? Technology is my frienemy. My usual fix for a stuck computer is to force-quit and turn it off, but I hate doing that because it feels like I’m smothering it to death.
Oh, I can google problems as good as the next person. But it feels a little like cavorting with the enemy and oftentimes the answers I get assume too much about my prior knowledge. I have a friend who’s pretty tech savvy, but she lives in Canada so her power to help is limited. (Plus, there’s the very real chance that I depend too much on her and my emails now send tingles of dread down her spine. Basically, she may feel our relationship goes something like this.)
Anyway, I was sitting at my desk today, contemplating the emotionally abusive relationship I have with my computer, and Bread & Tulips popped into my head. I now completely identify with Grazia and her plumber-inspired joy. I can totally see myself grinning like a fool and squealing to a friend: “He’s a computer whiz!” Heart be still! Help me fix my computer without talking down to me, think my computer ineptitude is adorable, and I’m yours. Wear a fedora at the same time? Ho boy.
One woman’s plumber is another’s computer guru.
Unbelievably, Bread & Tulips is available to watch (legally) online. So if you’re itching for some context or to bask in the sweet sound of Italian, check it out here.