In the film My Blueberry Nights, a diner owner (Jude Law) explains to a heartbroken girl (Norah Jones) who's trying to make sense of being jilted by her boyfriend that you can’t always make sense of others’ choices - sometimes people let go of a perfectly good thing. Jude makes his point while he's tidying up his greasy spoon for the night, telling Norah that at the end of the day the cheesecake and the apple pie are always gone, and maybe there's a slice or two remaining of the chocolate and the cobbler, but nearly always, an entire blueberry pie is left in tact.
“So, what’s wrong with the blueberry pie?” she asks.
“Nothing’s wrong with the blueberry pie,” he says, “it’s just that people make other choices.”
And just as Jude’s about to toss the overlooked pie into the bin - Norah stops him.
“I want a piece,” she says.
I hadn’t yet seen My Blueberry Nights when Jimmy Ho, the infamous man-about-London-town and aspiring world-dominator (see his OMyJimmy t-shirt line), texted me to say that he fancied a drink and a large slice of blueberry pie.
A quick Google search provided us with no direction regarding the blueberry pie. The Diner in Shoreditch with its "classic American food" only had apple and banoffee - the later of which the Brits think is a quintessential American dessert despite its suspiciously British-sounding name and the fact that nobody in the U.S. has ever heard of it. But I reasoned, there must be some cocktail concoction somewhere that would satisfy both cravings.
So as I waited for Mr. Jimmy at the elegant and eclectic Loungelover with its impressive list of libations (their dessert menu boasted tofu panacotta – still no blueberry pie) one of the bartenders asked me a succession of questions meant to shed light on 'my' drink: "Coffee or tea?" "Umm, both, depends on the day..." "Last meal on earth - chocolate or vanilla?" "Chocolate." (Although I had tempting thoughts of Magnolia Bakery's vanilla cupcake recipe).
But as it turned out, my choices didn't make any sense; what my answers said I liked (sweet) and what I actually like (definitely not sweet - sour) didn't add up.
"Interesting," he said. "You're one of only 2% of people in the population who get such a result."
Of course. Me? A reflection of only 2% of the population? How typical.
But I was a tad disturbed.
"Does this mean I don't really know what I like?"
"No, it could just mean you're adventurous."
Ahhh... that sounded about right - I hoped.
Around that time Jimmy showed up. After having his cocktail fortune told via the bartender's series of questions (his answers were far more definitive than mine and actually made sense) Jimmy came away with a drink (muddled with blueberries!) just to suit his taste...as seen below with his faux blueberry pie fix in-hand.
Soon after my evening at Loungelover, I happened to see My Blueberry Nights and the scrumptious symbolism of the blueberry pie really hit me…the way it so deliciously embodies the choice unmade…the thing that people don't want - right down to the near-impossibility of actually finding one.
Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with the purple stained pastry, as Jude espouses, it's just - people make other choices. Coffee or tea... vanilla or chocolate... tofu panacotta (how many people order that?) or plain tofu... they're all exactly what they should be.
Yet, I've been the blueberry pie, and reacted just as Norah did, eyeing it suspiciously - demanding to know: "Well?! What's wrong with it?"
But people make the choices that they do... because that's what they've learned they like, and probably a good deal out of mere default. And though I undoubtedly would have argued with Jude about this prior to my own blueberry night, maybe sometimes, say... 2% of the time, peoples' choices really don't make any sense... maybe because they’re being adventurous, or not being, or perhaps they don’t even know what they want - at any rate, the reason that we're so sure exists that would explain everything...really isn't there.
Halfway through the movie Norah’s character says that to kick an addiction, you usually have to focus your attention on something else.
“Me?” she says, “I'd pick blueberry pie.”
Which I liked. The idea that in order to move on from any negative situation - to become better - you really have to focus your attention on something that you essentially equate with yourself. Though it really seems that whatever you choose ought to be the sort of thing you'd find at the back of the dessert case, so that you can hold it up for being something other than the standard fare, and literally savor all of its peculiar facets.
Yes. Everyone should have their own blueberry pie.
Epilogue: Serveral days later... blueberry tart found at a cafe on Great Eastern Street. Of course, I let Jimmy know, for next time...
Disclaimer: Even though I posted the movie's trailer here (yes, the French version, because it was better) to provide a sense of the film's characters and mood, if you haven't seen My Blueberry Nights I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. The first half especially is pretty disjoint and slow... lots of pregnant pauses wherein we watch a character contemplate their life under cool moody lighting from a uniqe far-off angle. If you've seen In the Mood for Love, which was directed by the same guy (Kar Wai Wong), you know what I'm talking about. Not that the film doesn't have its enjoyable moments (I kind of covered my personal highlights), it's just... well, don't run out and see it on my account.