things have been catching me off guard lately. it’s not that i go about mindlessly, heedlessly, waiting to be surprised by the next everyday thing. it’s just that some things are unexpected, and for some reason i am really not prepared for that at the moment.
last night, with a belly full of pasta and ice cream, i walked into dan’s living room prepared to settle into a corner of the couch with a fleece blanket and a food baby. ‘gangs of new york’ was on the television, and i happened to enter just at the moment when daniel-day lewis dispatches a political foe with a meat cleaver. now, leaving aside for a moment the fact that the last role i saw daniel day-lewis occupy was tortured, noble john proctor: a meat cleaver. the next forty minutes were filled with shrapnel injuries and lynchings and the new york draft riots in all their bloody horror, and i was so horrified and fascinated and so close to tears that i nearly left the room.
my sensibilities were softened, i suppose, by dinner.
on the other hand…
i had a nightmare last week that woke me from my sleep, the sort where you can’t breathe right away and you certainly can’t close your eyes right away. i think it was about snowboarding on wet snow. there had to have been more than that. i have had vivid, wake-up-gasping nightmares before, but generally they’re about being chased or raped or some other real horror. not about snow that’s too damp for winter sports. i wasn’t attuned to the emotional import of the dream. the dream, as far as i can recollect, had no emotional import.
and there have been other similar instances lately: things that should not have made me laugh, things that should not have made me cry. i’m out of tune entirely at the moment — not like a piano or a guitar, predictably flat and quickly remedied. i just feel emotionally tone-deaf.
i’d like to hear the pitch again, please.