[Frantically scribbled this down stream-of-consciousness-style on March 6, 2013 as a private draft. I’ve decided to publish a handful of (pretty embarrassingly sad/pathetic/horrible) #personal posts that I’ve just been saving as drafts over the past few years because they kinda fascinate me, and they might fascinate some of the people “connected” to me. Note: Fully aware I am not the voice of any generation. Also, I’m tentatively calling this “series” Secret Writing Pad, because things in this vast Internet should always be #categorized]
“Comfort can lull you into a dangerous tranquility.” -Andre
One of the many, many lines from My Dinner with Andre I desperately wish my mind could retain, internalize, and cling to, as if this permanent absorption might be transformative, like a tattooed mantra that rattles my cage or snaps me out of my habitual funk every time I look at it. Really, it’s the complacent coasting along the banal habitual motions of everyday life and tunnelvision-transit, that insensitivity to the hidden-but-there intensities of “reality” and the affective contours of a building or classroom or whatever your immediate surroundings may be, and the constant immersion in signs and interfaces, and the numbing fantasies of lust and aspiration, and the performances of roles, tasks, and goals that perpetuate this self-constructed dream-prison where we’re shizophrenically playing the guard and the prisoner, that freak me out and make waking up in the morning a herculean exercise in willpower. There’s something about the language of the conversation in that movie that really scratches at the surface of “affect” and “affective fields” (not to wax pretentiously poetic academia) and how the feeling of boredom is not as interesting or significant as the mechanism or process that created that feeling of boredom.
That conversation also points to something that is so relatable to any human being that it hurts: How afraid we are to reveal ourselves, to let our guard of jokes and irony down and to cut ourselves off from the noise and lobotomizing drip-feed of media, and just “be” … you know, maybe it’s that pregnant-yet-comfortable silence in a conversation between two people, like the one romanticized by Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. That sustained moment of “forgetting” when we drop our roles and stop performing, whatever that means. I don’t think Andre or Wally really know either — there’s something to be said about the simple pleasures of Time magazines on the table and the warmth of electric blankets in the face of an abrasive and sometimes-hostile world, but then you have the unmediated fantastically utopian liminal spaces of the Polish forest in Andre’s anecdote and places like the top of Everest that can inspire a perceived clarity about the undercurrents of human behavior and the world and the potentialities emanating outward in every moment that’s somewhat frightening and unsettling. I realize most of this thought-vomit isn’t novel in the grand scheme of musings about the artificiality of our existence as performers masquerading around the stage of life (this theater metaphor kept popping up in Dinner with Andre), but that’s okay. There’s an ineffability to much of what I’m trying to get at — it calls for a “language of the heart” that captures intensities that I don’t think most of our human languages are able to articulate effectively without sounding abstract. Speaking of language, are ants vomiting chemicals into each other’s mouths and behaving instinctively more “real” than human interactions? What’s so great about “real”? I like the warmth of my bedroom, and inventions like the radiator and electric blanket and socks, because it’s so damn cold outside — sure, as Andre asserts, there’s a danger to comfort because we can overdose from excess. There’s perhaps a Fight Club mentality of animal viscerality in what Andre thinks, and it is disturbing to think how we’re erecting these barriers and obstructions that separate or distance us from huge cosmic forces like the seasons and the stars.
I posted this a FB status a few hours ago, but I’ll reiterate: The saddest part about that movie is that the feelings of heightened clarity and inspiration I’m experiencing right now will fade away and evaporate when I wake up in my calcified comforter cocoon of regret and apathy tomorrow morning, like splashes of cold water that, while profoundly shocking my system for a few seconds, ultimately dry up. My brain doesn’t retain things. It’s a barely legible palimpsest of information and experiences. In my nervous and careless scanning of the world, I am oblivious to the details, to people’s faces. There’s also a wiring problem in the circuitry that connects my brain to my mouth. I’m haunted by all kinds of specters, especially that of carnal lust. I can’t help but think there’s a deep truth in that cathartic and affirming moment of “forgetting” that Andre describes in the act of making love with another human being — forgetting there’s a world governed by forces beyond your control. At the same time (and this is where you can stop reading), I feel like maybe I’m performing the role of a “21-year-old college student” by constantly feeling the burden of this virginal lust, this thirst for pleasure and connection that may never be satisfied, as if sex is something I should have experienced by now because I’m a “21-year-old college student.” Once you’re out of here, it only gets harder to meet people, right? I’m in this rare social sandbox populated by amazing people and I’m only drawing fleeting images in the sand with a stick, instead of building castles or burying people and sculpting comical breasts or whatever… yeah, that was a lame metaphor and a lame detour, but whatever.
This is a self-diagnosis that I’m sure we’ve all performed, perhaps six inches from a mirror or while lying in bed. I’ve been having conversations with myself ever since I was a kid, or rather with an implicit imaginary friend that likes hanging out with me or an imaginary girlfriend that lays next to me in bed. Part of me LIKES to think I’m depressed, so that I can shirk the blame away from myself for being a lazy lifeless brat, as if there was some identifiable and pinpointable neural/biological reason that explains why I can’t focus on anything or can’t wake up in the morning. I also kind of revel in the sympathy of others, which makes the stigmatic label of “clinically depressed” not so problematic for me.
But I sorta know I’m perhaps just being melodramatic as usual. I can’t be depressed — I’m only fucking 21. This ain’t no age for a REAL crisis, because it’s true — I’m not tied to anything, but I certainly feel like I am which is, simply put, a horrible feeling… my mind always turns back to the Econ major thing (which could signify how fucking simple and narrow my world is), which was essentially me lying to myself. It’s one of those regrets I feel like I have to live with, but really I don’t. The problem is, I’m Wally. I mean, most of us are Wally’s striving, in the end, to be Andre’s.
Before I forget, I had this dream a few nights ago that made me feel, for the duration of the dream and for lack of a better adjective, extremely happy. Pure joy. In the dream, which was a two-parter / double-feature, my parents and sister visited my house in Chicago (only it looked like some frankenstein-amalgamation of living spaces I’ve encountered throughout life, decorated with residues of the everyday), cleaned it up, and prepared a lovely meal for all to enjoy. This dream then cut to another, in which I’m back at home with my parents, and they have just received this complimentary swag bag chock full of nice things from their cable/satellite provider for signing up for a new premium package that had all kinds of channels. In this smorgasbord of gifts was an oddly shaped yet attractive bottle of this pink fluid called Loot, a tasty energy drink or “gamer fuel.” When I saw this on the table, i immediately thought, “Omg I’m totally bringing this to our next D&D session!” That thought, that I’d share this drink with my D&D friends and we’d be so energized and full of guanine that we’d role-play and dungeon-crawl together until dawn or some absurd hour, made me so ridiculously happy… and then I woke up, and felt so fucking sad and pathetic for feeling so happy about something so simple and banal and materially-triggered, that this is what my unconscious mind, the unfiltered source of my wildest dreams and imaginations, preoccupied itself with. And like almost every other morning this quarter, waking up became a futile effort to suppress this feeling of moroseness…
Also, for the record, I discovered UChicago Compliments last night, and then proceeded to write a compliment about myself, which the moderator then posted on the official, public timeline, as if some random secret admirer thinks I’m awesome. I did it to see how people would react, and maybe to “raise the value of my stock,” if you will… it was stupid and masturbatory and pointless and doesn’t matter. Move along. You have a fucking paper you don’t care about to write.
At the end of the day, right now, my battle-cry is “fuck school,” but it’s a battle-cry I’m screaming into a pillow, since that’s all I can do. The toughest thing to swallow about all of this school bullshit getting in the way is that it’s my reality right now. But I could be way worse off…
The movie was fucking great, btw. Worth seeing at least once. Go Doc Films.