11 July 2011

500 days of nonsense

I’m finding this whole ageing* business a bit of a nightmare. The older people get, the further into themselves they seem to tunnel. I used to think that tunnelling into others was a viable solution to an identity crisis, but these days I’m just trying to dig my way out and into the light. I’m not sure if anyone or anything lives up there, or whether I’m actually tumbling disoriented inside a dark sea, swimming my way down, the air and answers at my feet steadily gaining distance.

This weekend I watched a film called It’s Kind of a Funny Story – it was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest meets 500 Days of Summer, if you can imagine such a thing. It was at once heartening and completely irritating to see a film try so earnestly to normalise the experience of being admitted to a psych ward. There were familiar elements to the story (Who is that figure beneath the blanket, are they dead, and do I really have to share a room with him/her?) and elements that make a mockery of mental illness, however unintentional (the David Bowie sing along, and the Hasidic-Jew-with-sensitive-hearing shtick, for instance).

As I said, I did enjoy the film, and I think it’s a fairly good primer for the uninitiated, but if you come away thinking that suicidal feelings, mental illness, depression and personality disorders are the binding agents of universal solidarity in an institutional setting, you’d be wrong about that.

I’m not going to arrive at an actual point, or weave these into an afghan to hide beneath, in case you were holding out for something of that nature. This is simply an unhelpful map of my tunnelling – a kind of You Are Here for anyone who crash-landed on Planet Me today. Apologies, Earthlings - themes and variations, themes and variations.

I’ve been busily inventing new forms of self-alienation (I don’t know, I’m not Freud, am I?) and one thing that occurred to me before the weekend hit, which I think might be true, is that some houses are dead. Am I right? Just as it would be wrong to manipulate the arms and legs of a corpse and call that corpse alive, I also think that people mistakenly believe that moving their shit into an accommodation that died decades ago will somehow turn that place into a home**.

Wanna come over and watch movies? Didn’t think so.

*‘Aging,’ not ‘getting old,’ I hasten to add; it’s an important distinction. Especially if you’re old. Which I am not. (Yet.)

**I don’t believe my house is dead, but I’ve lived in a fair few dead homes, and this is the only explanation. Shut up and let me have my explanation.

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