And standing there under the ledge, you think you’re safe from what’s around you. You’re not. You’re not.
Downpours act as an unexpected character in Wong Kar-Wai’s masterpiece, In the Mood for Love.
Running from the rain, hiding from it, waiting it out, characters seem constantly at odds with trying to outsmart an element that cares little for human whim. Like lovers best intentions, it falls all the same.
Are our couple finding in one another that one safe place to wait out the storm? Or are they always on the run, chased by a force far beyond their control?
It seems this distinction is key, for it determines everything about whether you’d claim their evasion to be successful.
If the rain is the specter of a world not theirs, then these moments in a place of dryness are victories.
Alternatively, if this rain is reality… How long can one live in an alternate world before the running simply defines you, before it becomes too much?
And then, of course, there’s Wong’s take. Our director, throughout his films, preaches the feebleness of patience.
In waiting for the rain to stop, one may save their dress, one may avoid a cold, but to what end?
In staying dry, no one will ever see upon you the evidence of your having been caught in the storm. But is this living? Is this love?
How many of you can remember an outfit you ruined? How many of you can remember a moment of being overcome?
All of us have these stories. They not only let us relate to one another, they themselves are proof of life.
Now, how many of you remember an outfit you narrowly avoided ruining? How many recall a conflict that almost occurred?
We may remember these moments, but can you articulate them? Can they be shared with others?
I don’t care what my friends almost dealt with… Their stories of being caught in the storm are far more vital.
So in waiting for the rain to stop, are we simply wasting time that black or white, wet or dry could have been ours?
Patience, I’ve said it before, is not a virtue to Wong Kar-Wai; it is a curse.
To be defined by what one did not is to be resigned to a life of regret, and an unrelatable one at that.
Stay dry or experience life.
Both, in the end, may hurt you, but isn’t it better to at least know what might have been?