Friday, August 28, 2009

All is Well--Thanks to 1GB of Ram!

Oh--and a new power thingy. You know the gizmo in the computer where you put the wall plug? --that had blown. Once it was fixed, the next thing to do was speed up the beast. Et Voila. I have a functional work horse and communication device back at my fingertips.


The house stayed clean and tidy. Instead of sitting down "to check something" on-line, I put something away, or washed a dish, or swept a floor. The house was enjoyable. I was bored silly: but the house was restful, peaceful.

The husband and I watched a movie together. "Body of Lies." I realised I know nothing, nothing about the Middle East. I'm embarrassed by my ignorance, frankly.

We had picked up "BoL" to watch because I'd been quite taken with Mr. DiCaprio in Blood Diamond. I wondered if it might be similiar. (I know nothing about movies, either!) It wasn't, but it was still a decent movie though I had to watch it twice to keep track of the twists and turns. Impressed with it, I decided to rent Revolutionary Road.

I am still reeling.

It reminds me of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe" with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor which I saw when I was far too young to understand what I was seeing. It reminded me of "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" which, though I was even younger, I did understand.

When I was in my mid-twenties, my cousin and his girlfriend, only four, five years younger than I, went to see "Dead Poet's Society." Does anyone remember it? It was an exuberant film about a crazy professor (Robin Williams) who turns on the young boys under his tutelage to the freedom from social stricture and the expression of life in all its fullness--simply from the reading and appreciation of poetry. Very romantic. And not something of an epiphany for the sophisticate I had believed I had become: but it certainly was for my younger cousins. Then living in Niagara Falls, Ontario, they decided to leave everyone they knew behind and start a new life together in Vancouver.

"Revolutionary Road" may be, could be my Dead Poet's Society.


There is a line Winslett, as April, says to her neighbour, the man who worships from afar, late in the movie, (if I pop in the dvd to quote it exactly, I may be overwhelmed, so I am deliberately paraphrasing, here):

"how did I ever think I was special? Where did I get that idea? What if I'm not? What if I'm really not? Nobody promised anything. How could I have believed in a promise nobody made?"

--and in the subtext-- how can I be so devastated by something that was never there, never real?

And, of course, I was pierced. I hate to be overdramatic. But it really did feel like something pierced me in the chest and held me very, very still.

What if?

Can I accept the fact that I'm really nobody special?

(Can anyone?)

What would it mean to accept I'm really nobody special?

Of course, that's a choice, an existential choice. So the opposite question must also be asked: what if I am special?

But because an existential choice is always about process--think becoming, not being, (there is, really, no "being"--ack watch me trip over language I haven't bothered to use in over 20 years!) the real, the only question is:

What would it mean to live as if I were somebody special?
What does "special" even mean?
What could it mean?

Could I make it mean something?

And I wish to hell this dialogue were not so solipsistic.

(My husband, ever the pragmatic soul that he is, does not like to watch "depressing" movies. He did not watch it with me.)


drwende said...

You have no idea how timely this post is.

The question is supposed to be solipsistic because while people can love you for what's special in you, they cannot make you believe in it yourself.

That said, NEVER surrender to the idea of not being special. It's the fundamental mistake. This is in no way incompatible with being humble (I'd even argue that some of the people who are loudest about their own merits are the least sure of them).

The definition of "special" starts with one simple and rather scary question. If you were stripped of everything worldly (or at least, everything worldly was made irrelevant to the situation) and armed with nothing but love and your wits, what would you (or could you) do? That's the kernel of who you are.

Anne (in Reno) said...

The movie that, oddly enough, brought this idea out in me was The Incredibles - in which the villain wants to give everyone superpowers because "when everyone's special, then no one is". As a society, we are so focused on everyone being so great, when I think we need to realize our weaknesses and acknowledge that not everyone can be good at everything like we would love to pretend them to be (and then we can standardize ALL our tests).

But I've watched my Sesame Street too. I know that while everyone can't be the best at everything, everyone has things about them that are unique and special. And those are what you make them yourself. I love Wende's desert island idea, I think if you were stripped of your worldly surroundings, I think you would make something worthwhile of what YOU are.

Society doesn't have to praise you and tell you how special you are for you to have value within yourself. You know within you that there are things about you that are unique and special. You just have to remember what they are.

And now I remember why I never EVER wanted to see Revolutionary Road. Yeesh.

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