Monday, March 27, 2006

The Willful Suspension of the Diaspora

We watched “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” on Saturday night. Nothing like a good exorcism film to get your Catholic on. Big time. It was, you know, OK, as those kinds of movies go. I thought the performance of the priest, played by Tom Wilkinson, was absolutely seamlessly stunning. Laura Linney gets on my nerves. She’s like a high rent Jennifer Aniston and I feel like everyone wants me to like her more than I want to. I thought she blew in “Mystic River,” for example, but I pretty much thought everyone blew in that, including Tim Robbins who seemed to be channeling Dana Carvey as Garth in "Wayne’s World."

The Emily Rose movie scared me a little bit in that the defense had a witness who said that Emily was prone to being invaded by demons because she was “hypersensitive.” Uh-OH! I thought, “Oh great, now I'm a welcome mat for creatures of the underworld and I'm going to have to hyperextend my back and speak in tongues and whiplash my neck around like a spazz.”

The movie also explained why waking up at 3:00 a.m. means that, while you are not possessed, per se, you are probably in the presence of demons. Because 3:00 a.m. is how the demons mock the Trinity. See?

So of course I woke up in the middle of the night and I turned warily toward the clock and—whew!—it was 4:41. But then last night I woke up in the middle of the night and I turned toward the clock and it was 3:39. OUCH! It might as well have spewed pea soup at me, non? That’s a whole lotta threes!

Speaking of possession, have you ever known a man whose marriage has sucked the brain right straight out of his head? Besides your own husband? (Because your sucking the brain out of his head was the best thing that ever happened to him.) Anyway, I have known about three or four men in my time to whom this has happened. And it’s not pretty. And I find, in my dotage, that my patience has sort of winnowed down to a very thin brittle reed and sometimes I blurt things out—not unlike Linda Blair—that are not very nice. Like they are things that have been festering in me for so f%$#@ long and all of a sudden one of these men—or pod people, whichever you prefer—says something in the language his wife has taught him to supplant the language he grew up with, and I just spit something out—hot green and viscous—and then DON’T REGRET IT AT ALL! Except maybe a little bit, around the edges.

I have become the same way at work, as I think we see evidenced in my last post—like I just can’t willfully suspend my disbelief anymore, you know? Because that’s what it takes to operate in this artificially constructed parallel life we inhabit, known as The Grind.


But just like any well-constructed novel, there are often “cohorts” in the world o’ work—those are people you can go to pull the curtain back and say, OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING! Those are called “insanity touchstones” who verify that you have not, in fact, lost your mind, and they regard a certain set of circumstances to be just as absurd as you do!

On Friday I was commiserating—not that I am a malcontent—let’s be clear about that. I don’t go around fomenting anger and bad blood. I don’t believe in that. I am just referring to the “sanity sound check” sort of thing.

So I was talking to this woman and we were totally agreeing with each other until I took it too far—that old crazy analogous mind—and I said, “Well, you know what it is don’t you? It’s megalomania! Just like…” And I stopped myself before I went into a full blown comparison to Captain Ahab and the doubloon and the clam chowder and all. Because I could see that I had her right up until “megalomania.” That’s not a word you just want to throw around in an office. Like Diaspora.

Seriously, I was talking to this extremely nice person in the lunch room. As I told Belinda, I have a severe phobia of lunch rooms, but I made an exception that one day and decided to try and act like a regular person and actually sit down and partaketh of my lunch in the lunch room instead of hunched over my desk. And I happened to ask this woman about her doctoral thesis and she was talking about Jimmy Stewart—it’s a film thing, which I think is fascinating (but I TOTALLY don’t agree with her choices of film that are meant to represent nationalism in film)--and she brought up Diaspora.

I thought I better keep my trap shut because she seemed pretty keen on her film choices and she’s sick of the whole thesis and just wants to defend it and be done with it and if I came up with two different films (that would be much more appropriate) she would probably go off the deep end. Anyway, she said something about the Diaspora in relation to “It’s a Wonderful Life” and I was all like, “Huh?” Basically I think “Diaspora” and “miasma” are words that should just be kept on the down-low, in writing or something, and not really uttered in polite conversation. ESPECIALLY about “It’s a Wonderful Life,” for God’s sake. What did that movie ever do to hurt anyone?

Yesterday we went to our favorite zany Asian gardens and then had dim sum at our favorite zany Chinese restaurant. As we walked through the gardens, I could feel my stress and anxiety literally evaporate out of me—all those fussy demons extinguished by the calm, the placement of the stone steps, the reflection of the bare trees in the pond, the ducks arguing with each other and cascading into the water, the camouflaged fish just below the surface, the flowers in the conservatory, the kids running and pointing. And MZA saying to Nick, “Nick, do turtles immigrate?” And Nick saying, “You mean migrate? No. They move too slowly.”


Cynicism is another word for reality

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