Musings and Mirth
The one thing my mother always told me when I was a little girl was that I was “too sensitive.” I knew it early on because I hated going to school because I hated the feelings it seemed to stir in me. I was never carefree. I never stopped worrying. It was only later that I learned how to turn that sensitivity, or whatever the hell it was, around to good things it could do – like the ability to throw my head back with laughter – to laugh with abandon is, I’ve come to find, a rarity. I learned how to laugh from my mother whose own emotions get the better of her most days. She can turn on a flash from being wildly giddy with laughter to being angry enough to throw something, slam something or smash something, to being upset enough to audibly ugly cry while watching something on TV. Despite her irritation with what she considered to be my weakness, my own mother, god love her, is overly sensitive too.
People like me turn to drugs or drink. People like me overeat into oblivion, or throw it all up later. People like me watch TV. People like me stay in unhappy marriages because it is so much better than the alternative, being deserted and alone. People like me turn to sex to stay present and attended to. People like me adopt a lot of cats. People like me cry late into the night, holding onto some kind of pain that somehow keeps from facing truths.
And yet, it’s so much harder to just face the day: stone cold sober, ready for honest interaction with self and others. And all of this would be greatly possible, all of it would be kind of easy, were it not for the internet — because the internet holds too much information. And that information can send you down a rabbit hole or two and it can bring back into your life stuff that has no business being there. You can find almost anything you want to find if you know how to look. And it’s best not to look. But when you find yourself making that decision to start typing names into google — and you start reading little bits of clues people have inadvertently left behind – that’s when the internet becomes your enemy. That’s when it’s time to close the computer and concentrate on something else – reading, gardening, pilates…
I have to wonder, though, is my own sensitivity playing into this? Are regular people out there able to juggle past and present more easily? Do they just not go looking for stuff that’s not meant to be found? I sort of wish there was a way to erase it all so that it just wasn’t there anymore. But it’s there. Unless you’re a person who steadfastly deletes your history as you go so that there is no paper trail anywhere, no online footprint, you will be found out if someone goes looking. And the funny part is, you don’t even know when you write that stuff down who you might meet later who might find it.
As for me, I’m slowly working my way around the notion that life offline is a whole lot better than life online. That is probably how I will start to proceed for the next few years of my life, after almost fifteen years living through words tapped out on a screen, so full, so empty.
If you’ve been following Ree’s career as long as I have you might be dazzled, as I have, at her meteoric rise to success from blogger to big time blogger to book author to TV show host and now, no doubt, to million dollar enterprise a la Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, and The Barefoot Contessa. Anyone who watches these shows knows that you don’t watch them for the food and cookin and recipes – you watch them for the lifestyle the host is pushing. The same formula that draws millions of viewers to Ree’s blog every day is the same thing that will likely draw them to her TV show on the Food Network. But watch out, you might find yourself yearning to be one of those Stepford Wives, you know, an eager to please robotica?
Sometimes a man…
Sometimes the beauty of life…
I don’t have a story to tell because all I did was turn on the television and call my best friend. My daughter Emma asked me where we were saying her best friend’s mom was flying around Boston that day and just missed the flight that crashed into the first tower. I only remember it for what I didn’t know. I didn’t know that it was a terrorist act. I didn’t know that Osama Bin Laden was that real. I didn’t know that “they” hated us. I didn’t know what we did to make them hate us. I didn’t know that the towers would fall. I didn’t know that people would jump out of the windows to keep from burning or dying from smoke inhalation. I didn’t know that the firefighters would rush in just before the towers fell. I didn’t know there would be two planes to hit the towers. I didn’t know it could be so easy to execute such an elegant, well planned, unavoidable attack on American soil. I didn’t know that it would be used to justify two wars that are mostly still ongoing.
What could I tell my daughter about that day? How could I tell her that those two wars ended up killing over six thousand more American soldiers.
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 4,442
Operation Enduring Freedom: 1,584
These deaths, I have to tell her, had nothing to do with 9/11 except in the way that it made us all so afraid that we would do anything, accept anything. And then finally, I’d have to tell her that it wasn’t about us that day: it never should have been. It was only about those who died. It was about them and it should always be about them.
And yeah, it changed everything. My heart still breaks for the victims. And the anger at our government for what we did after that, even though the world maybe feels slightly safer without Saddam Hussein, still resonates. But it’s not about me. It never was.
My 13 year-old daughter indulges my strange movie-watching habits. For instance, I almost always choose a movie I’ve seen and liked over one I’ve never seen. And I often watch the same movie over and over again until I know all of the dialogue. One such film of these is The Edge. It’s written by David Mamet and stars Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins. Every line of dialogue in this thing is brilliant. It’s hard to pick my favorite scene because they’re all good. I even like the cheesy death-by-bear scenes. But when Hopkins and Baldwin speak to each other that’s when it is at its absolute best.
Like this whole bit:
And this….you just have to excuse the bearskin outfits.
Whenever The Edge is on TV I almost always watch it, which means I’ve seen it at least 20 or 30 times. My daughter Emma has also now seen it several times and can quote lines of dialogue from it, “never feel sorry for a man who owns a plane.” And “What one man can do another can do.” I try to impart upon her the importance of great dialogue. I am hoping she learns to love Mamet as I do, even if he became a conservative.
God, man. I never stop loving this dude. Thing is, even when his songs are cheesy, and they often are, they are still amazing. He is best performing live – he goes into the zone. Here is one youtube of Wavelength. Oh Van.
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