Monday, 24 March 2008

Just three miles from the rest stop, she slams on the breaks

That flash of piercing clarity where you realise, from the depths of your gut, that this is not where you want to be. Its not a logical conclusion derived after analysis, or a calculated decision after weighing up pros and cons, but a quiet sort of 'right, I'm not putting up with this rubbish anymore' which has a powerful, contained resolve.

You may have been rationally analysing along those lines for months or been miserable for ages or perhaps a quiet feeling had been sneaking up unawares for some time, but what I'm talking about is that final spark which breaks the connection keeping you in a certain place, whether it is in a relationship, a job or just waking up to what a quagmire your comfort zone has become. Rob Thomas sums it up beautifully:

She said - while you were sleeping
I was listening to the radio
And wondering what you're dreaming when
It came to mind that I didn't care

- Rest Stop by Matchbox Twenty

Somehow those last two lines capture how things just click into place in a quiet, often completely random moment.  It doesn't necessarily hail the end of self doubt at that twitching hour of 3am [MB20 again!], just that its easier to rationalise the brain back to sleep. You've passed that point where what you want, generally in my case, sanity, slips higher on the priority list overtaking whatever was creating drama.

I've always felt that 'vibrant' is too strongly complimentary an adjective to use on a person. Until I met my ex-boss. She is the most intensely alive person I've met to date. I'm going to quit while ahead and leave readers to use their imagination rather than try to describe her. Lets just say no one who met her, no matter how briefly, could ever forget her, customers were guaranteed to be walking away with a smile on their faces. She's just one of those.

She had been working at her job for over 20 years, longer than I've been alive! She's always loved it, her first job which she assumed would be her only one. We joked that she had roots entwined in the foundations of the place and she could never leave because the place would fall apart, and spirit wise it was so very true. In the last couple of years however, change of management etc etc, it became insanely, unfairly and more annoying, unneccesarily stressful for her and people kept telling her she deserved better and should leave but she couldnt. There was a massive emotional investment: her husband worked there, the team was like family, she had known all the regular customers and retailers for years. She fell ill constantly, was permanently stressed out for about two years before she reached that 'rest stop moment', a tipping point, where everything fell into place and she was able to break out of the unhealthy situation within her comfort zone and move on without looking back.

Non-mutual breakups are so messy and painful because one person has reached that moment but the other is yet to get there. And that sucks, as you can't force an epiphany. It's one of those irritating mental switches that you can lean over and juuust brush with your fingers, unable to get enough of a grasp to flip it at will. 

Just three miles from the rest stop
And she slams on the breaks
She said I tried to be but I'm not
And could you please collect your things
I don't wanna be cold
I don't wanna be cruel
But I gotta find more
Than what's happening with you
If you'd open up the door...

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Reality leaves a lot to the imgination*

Italian Job 2 has such sexy moments. [Spoiler alert. If you haven't watched it yet: what was the weather like on that middle star of Orion's belt?]. Stella's introductory scene where she drives a Mini through London traffic captured my heart wholesale. At some point in my life I will own/rent/borrow/run off with/hug and refuse to let go of one of those. Don't care that they are overpriced. It's absolutely the perfect city car if one is gutsy enough to drive suicidally like she does, couldn't find a youtube clip *gasp!*

Anyway! One of the things that got the drowsy brain buzzing was the villain's Achilles heel - a lack of imagination. Specifically how this was expressed through his inability to spend the kazillion million dollars he stole. It is quite a common question, the 'if you won a million dollars/ had three wishes/ could rule the world etc what would you do?' line. Good for random conversations with possibly dodgy people on buses. If you think about it though, how many entirely unique responses have you heard to that?

The conversation early on in the movie, where they each describe what they intend to spend their share of the money on is interesting because it manages, in just a couple of minutes, to sketch a reasonably vivid image of each person's personality. Handsome Rob's drool-worthy Aston Martin is a player's car; a pantie dropping, super cool adrenaline rush. The geek speak with which Napster describes his sound system immediately assigns him the nerdy techie's place in the team, and Left Ear is for sure the cultural one with his beautiful Spanish villa and leather bound first editions, etc etc. All done in just a few cleverly picked phrases from each of the characters.

Steve Frazelli [baddie] couldn't come up with even one thing that he wanted, he borrowed off everyone else. It is roll on the ground hilarious when they realise he has very literally bought their ideas. The catch though, is that he can't possibly enjoy the spoils because they aren't 'his'. The kick-ass tv, stereo, car, house, library have nothing to do with his personality or tastes. It's like the joke about the art dealer who sold a white canvas to a multi-millionaire, assuring him that this was the newest art movement. Luxury is an experience, and therefore entirely relative. Ferrero Rochers, enjoyed infrequently, would be absolute heaven regardless of whether I'm driving a Rolls or living in a leech infested ditch. He is admittedly a one sided character, for storyline convenience, but that aside, he hasn't figured out what is uniquely extra special for him, which is not scarily not uncommon in real life!

Right now, I don't quite know what I would do with a few million dollars. There are the obvious ones I'd want to do like travel all over the world, enjoy all those currently light years outside budget experiences like cruise around the world first class, sky dive, learn to fly and then buy a plane, a boat, eat in funky, ridiculously expensive restaurants, buy into a formula one team, watch a kazillion plays and concerts, build up a massive library and art collection and generally run riot with all my friends.

There isn't any focus to all that though. It's to do with not having an overwhelming passion for any one thing in particular. Having strong opinions and an interest in a variety of things is not quite the same. Those people who have found that Something [with a capital] they cannot live without, I envy them. I like music, but don't turn pale or feel ill at the thought of a couple of months without it, unlike probably Confab and RD. Ditto with any other interest except perhaps to a certain extent human rights related things and psychoanalysing everything. Right now, if my bank account balance unexpectedly grew several extra zeros [before the decimal point], I'd probably invest it so that until I finally do figure out what I want to spend it on, it'll be sitting there, getting fatter. To be fair, I reckon its also an age and experience thing, this knowing what you want.

So what would you do with say, 10 million dollars. It sounds like a lot, but it actually isn't that much. What would you spend it on?

* John Lennon

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

There is an awful lot of breathing room

So, I have all these drafts hanging out in my blogspot account: some random, some reflective, some stressed out, some are actually more panicked neurons on the rampage than coherant thoughts, but they're all chilling in there, wondering what the next step is. Ideally, I would like to write them out and post them, but I've gotten to that apparently inevitable point where worries about people figuring out who I am become relevant. Damnit. Unfortunately most of my rants might be recognisable, and although most of my friends have comfortingly appalling memories it is quite posssible they will connect the dots. Bummer.

Theres no point in having a blog if you can't release what you think, what you feel, what you wish you didn't feel, feel you shouldn't think or think you shouldn't feel. And then there's the whole if a tree falls in the middle of a forest and no one knows, did it actually fall? I know now what drew me to blogging again is, more than anything else, the actual act of writing. Putting words together, taking them apart, refitting, streamlining, adding, replacing, playing. Its like dabbing at a painting for me - little strokes of the brush, enjoying the rush until it looks good, feels right. I'm not a serious writer, just an entirely selfish one. I write for me, to make sense of my little, sometimes painful world.

It was a Monday, a sunny, sparkling day because it had rained in the morning, and all the trees were a happy deep green. I had homework to do for that afternoon [of course]. Usually a last minute essay is a smooth, oft practiced process, but that day I couldn't get a line off a Norah Jones song out of my head. It wasn't boyfriend trouble, that kind of stuff actually doesn't get to me too much, it was a complicated non-melodramatic incident involving a boy I loved as a part of me, one of those quiet things that you can't really pinpoint at the time, which makes it difficult to analyse. I remember feeling restless, and uneasy but not depressed or anything like that. And then, sitting there in the library overlooking the mango tree, I started to write and write and write. A poem four pages long, I just couldn't stop myself. No idea where it was coming from, these weren't thoughts that I had consciously, feelings I was completely oblivious to. Once it finally ended, sitting back, exhausted and reading it over was such a shock. It was so wierd to be reading something composed by me, but totally new to me at the same time. At that point I realised this is what makes up for my tendency to live in denial and then be overly rational. Its the outlet that quite literally keeps me sane.

To conclude: Don't guess. I'm not that person. Seriously.

This is hypocritical of me because I love trying to figure out who the blogger is. Perhaps thats partly why I'm so paranoid, but anway, since this is my space where I get to be a brat, its shameless denial till all the animals of the ark come home.