Monday, March 29, 2010

big rainy questions and broadway shows

I have a relationship with my mailbox. I fear it as one fears a large body of water at night, which is to say I respect its awesome power, showing deference at all times by leaving it be, lest I upset the tender balance within. I can walk past for days, too daunted to open it and ,when I finally do, the mail spills out in clumps damp with hallway must.

In the belly of that beast is the constant reminder of my resistance to adulthood. Bills and notices out of sight are out of mind. If it weren't for Netflix, and my schoolgirl addiction to the West Wing, I might never turn that little brass key.

Last night I saw Next To Normal and was reminded, among other things, about forgetting. And sanity. Or, the tenuous grip thereon: to quote the first review in the Times, "The notion that personality is fragile, always on the edge of decomposition..."* First it's the mailbox and the bills, then it's all those lost years, and pretty soon—names and faces. Delusions and dementia. The province of anyone with anything worth forgetting.

Which secrets are we meant to let scab over and which must be dredged and mined before we fall apart? How many catastrophes can we suffer before we find ourselves making sandwiches on the floor?

Then come the sacrifices. The ones we make for the damned and the lost in our lives, with or without hope for their rehabilitation. Who is to blame for these wasted hours and broken hearts but ourselves? We make them anyway, who knows why, out of love? (Valor? Compassion?) It is the basic hand to flame response of the human heart. This hurts. I'll help. Ow. Until every last one of us have burnt and bandaged fingers.

In that moment of decision, do we forfeit the right to complain when our better tendencies take us for a ride we weren't ready for? Or may we layer on resentment until it patches over our wounds like kudzu?

Jeez, world. A little heavy for a Tuesday perhaps?

*Ben Brantley, April 16, 2009, New York Times Theater Review

1 comment:

bard said...

I have a similar fear of my e-mail inbox, particularly where it concerns my cousin and the progress of her website...