SAD + SAD = :)

Portland can be hard to love in February. The current economic news combined with my first overdraft notice of the New Year adds another steel gray layer of despair to my annual slugfest with SAD. I find that these days I am prone to reading depressing fairy tales involving starvation to Child the Elder:  The Little Match Girl . Hansel and Gretel 

“But why do they want to let the kids starve, Mommy?”

“Maybe because the kids said dinner was ‘yucky’ once too often, honey.” 

“But it’s MEAN!” 

“So is telling someone their tamale casserole looks like throw-up.” 

Maybe your instinct at times like this is to go for comforting and escapist entertainment, but that is where you and I part company. Go ahead and take your Hawaiian holiday. Don’t forget your copy of Chicken Soup for the SAD*.

My instinct is to head directly into the storm, like those crazy people who chase tornadoes. If you’re still with me, I’m headed for Helsinki.  Because what’s colder, grayer, and more depressing than Portland in February? That’s right, my friend...Finland.

Aki Kaurismaki’s proletariat trilogy of films spins tales of working-class socioeconomic woe that are not to be missed. All three are worth the watch, but the best by far is The Match Factory Girl

Poor Iris is a social disaster, living with her disapproving parents and working on the factory line. The desperation and hopelessness of Iris’s situation are leavened with deadpan humor and the superbly straight-faced under-acting of Kati Outinen. This tale of her unintended pregnancy is the anti-Juno and I laugh days later just thinking about it. A dose of Iris is better than a melatonin shot.

The schadenfreude I experience after viewing is enough to carry me through another week of too many bills and not enough magazines in the mail. It is another week of children spending too much time in the house criticizing my lackluster winter cooking. But wait a minute. Is that the Little Match Girl flying to heaven? Or could it really be the sun?

*Not a real title. At least I hope not.