Saturday, November 21, 2020

Grief: "I Just Want Something I Can Ignore"

 Rob says that in the film version of High Fidelity, one of the great Gen-X films of the 1990s, played by Gen-X's poster child, John Cusack. I love that quote. It's one of those things I wish I'd written, damn you, Nick Hornby. It's such a succinct thought that conveys something we don't often articulate about mass media; namely, that there is, underneath the Must Watch Shows and the Trending Twitter Topics, and the "No Spoilers" Fan-Bombs on Facebook, a second layer of media, movies, and music. It's the stuff that, for one reason or another, serves as a kind of white noise machine for our overly-stimulated simian brains. 

Shows like M.A.S.H., for instance. That's a show everyone of a certain age remembered watching, both during prime time and syndication, for two or more decades. Now, well into our adulthood, M.A.S.H. is a show that is part of the glue of television. It's always on somewhere, and we've seen every episode multiple times. Even the episodes we think we didn't me, we've seen it. It's now a digital backdrop, visual Muzak, the kind of thing that can be on in the background during a family dinner and no one minds, because no one really pays that much attention to it, even the super serious episodes where Hawkeye cries or when Sidney tries to psychoanalyze someone.

Which leads me to Gilmore Girls

Monday, November 16, 2020

Aftermath: One Month

 Cathy died a month ago today. As hard as the last two years have been, and this includes my own hospitalization and other assorted health problems, and as rough as this year has been, and as painful as the last four months have been, the last thirty days have been some of the most challenging days of my life. I went from the funeral straight to not having a vehicle for three weeks. The enforced shut-in was both oddly comforting and ridiculously stressful, in that it made me feel even more helpless an ineffectual. Running the gauntlet between our wedding anniversary, my birthday, Halloween, and Cathy's birthday sure as hell didn't help matters one little bit. 

All this to say, I am grateful that friends and family don't blithely ask me how I'm doing. Ordinarily I would be loathe to bypass the social niceties (the hi's and how are you's), but my patience is worn tissue paper thin right now, and things that ordinarily wouldn't bother me a bit are sending me into a red rage. But I can't yell in a stranger's face, "I feel like I'm trying to play the trombone with only one arm! How do you THINK I'm doing today!?"

That's how I feel: like I've been amputated. And phantom limb syndrome for me involves walking around the house like a mental patient, talking to thin air and anxiously waiting for an answer that will never come.