I re-watched Soylent Green on a VHS tape last night, as the gods intended. Seems like with this movie, The Omega Man, and Planet of the Apes, Charlton Heston was one of the great science fiction actors of all time. There's a scene in Soylent Green where Heston, who portrays a cop, plunders the apartment of a homicide victim for a slice of beef and some apples, delicacies in this bleak future, and he and Edward G. Robinson eat them in a scene celebrating the miracle of food. It's a scene that is hard to watch without wanting to go to the kitchen and just revel in all the variety of fresh foods we have available to us in America.
The joy of something we take for granted, like an apple, is conveyed with some good acting in this scene from Soylent Green. I paused the tape at this point, suddenly overtaken with an overwhelming desire for a piece of fresh fruit. I live in a food desert here in the fifth most dangerous neighborhood in America, but fortunately there is one convenience store that puts out a few pieces of fruit each day. Bananas, apples, and oranges. It was only 9:13, and since they are open until ten I set out. It was a nice night, and I don't pay too much attention to the crime statistics, as I have been walking this neighborhood for the five years I've lived here now without any problems. But when I got to convenience store I was disappointed to see they had closed early, as they commonly do. The next closest piece of fruit was over an hour away on foot, so I abandoned my quest for fruit and went back to my apartment dejectidly.
I wanted to mope. I really, really wanted a piece of fruit, and most of the food choices I had left at my apartment looked like Soylent Green. But I cheered up when I saw them make a fuss over a real egg in the movie. I had eggs. In this future a jar of strawberry jam was so scarce it sold for $150. I happened to have a small jar of strawberry jam I had been ignoring for over a year. I got out my eggs, my small jar of strawberry jam, grabbed a hunk of cabbage that was leftover from the last time I made a corned beef, and I had a feast. I also had milk and peanut butter. I ate it all. I made a glutton of myself. And I was grateful for every ounce of it.
Water flowed from the faucets, uninterrupted electricity powered my utilities, a nice breeze flowed through the window. Thank you, science fiction, for creating a scenario of the future so bleak that even my modest accomodations here in this real present seem even that much better. If you're having trouble appreciating what little you have in this life, watch this movie. You'll cheer up.