11 April 2018 9.49pm
‘A NeverEnding Endless Night’ 2018
I think that the last week of personal things in my life has intruded on my sense of what I’m feeling and thinking about all the films (and television) I’m watching this week as well as my general disposition to my family and friends. I’ve discovered that bad bruising to the ribs creates a level of pain that causes ten out of ten (10/10) pain when your ribs, torso and its associated muscles tries to keep your body vertical to the horizon. I’m just guessing this, not stating it, as I don’t have a medical background or even a scientific or biological background. All I know is that being a passenger in a car as it negotiates small bends in the road causes the stomach muscles to tense; that getting up from a chair, or rolling over in bed, or trying to get out of bed, or walking, coughing, breathing, blow-your-nose or laughing, all cause muscles around the ribs to tense. Once the pain-killers ran out, which was ten days ago, there’s nothing to take the edge off the pain anymore.
I talked to my psychologist this afternoon about why constant pain causes people to become short-tempered and emotional. We batted around a few ideas without discovering any scientific evidence to prove why humans become impatient and short-tempered during extended days or weeks of pain. We figured that it’s probably got to do with intense pain causing us to live more and more in the emotional mind and the rational mind, lessening our ability to find a space where they intersect, which Marcia Linehan called, “the wise mind.” We also discussed how our tolerance for dealing with things that could potentially frustrate us can become less and less. When so much of our tolerance for normal things is now being used for really upsetting things, like pain, humans are now focused on surviving the constant pain without killing ourselves to escape it.
Tolerance for the things around us can go out the window and anger – from tiny things for which we would normally have endless patience – becomes instantaneous.
My wife said to me tonight – regarding the endless whingeing and manipulation by our youngest daughter, who has been off school two out of three days this week, fighting a virus, and is playing-it-up at 11pm, trying to control us so she can get the attention she is so often trying for which will make her feel even more important, more loved and feel calm, for the sole purpose of dominating us – “Where’s your compassion?”
Well, my compassion went out the window at least a week ago and I’ve noticed that various things have been harder to handle – like getting in and out of a car and turning the steering wheel – and still doing pick-ups and drop-offs, taking kids to soccer training and piano lessons, playing piano for church, returning library books and going to my Thursday night film course.
Tuesday’s doctor’s appointment where the x-rays indicated a possible fracture in the 5th and 7th ribs, and the spread of the radiating pain from the side, around to the front and back of my ribs, gives me something to hang my hat on: maybe the excruciating pain I’m feeling is real and not imagined and I’m plum out of caring about anything else – for myself or anyone – anymore.
Watching films like Hirshima mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad and The Bedford Incident and Zodiac and The Dressmaker and Love, Simon and A Quiet Place are films that are so serious, to their core, that understanding pain and unhappiness is the only requisite for getting what they’re about and identifying with them. They’re all philosophically, either nihilistic, or about surviving or learning to live with pain.
They aren’t films that require a sense of humour. They’re films that require a sense of empathy. Similarly, with the few shows that Alison and I watch on television I’ve found all of the episodes irritating lately, particularly Season 5 of The Good Wife which is suddenly, from episode 4 or 5, trying to be funny and comical – and doing it poorly – in ways that it never was before.
The crowning achievement was a black comedy I saw with my father tonight which was one of the most excruciating, most unhilarious, most awfully written and acted films I have ever seen. I get it is a black comedy and I get that it is being outrageous and over-the-top in its blackness.
My father and I walked out of the cinema and he told me how extraordinary and wonderful the film was while I held my tongue and didn’t tell him that I hated it more than almost anything I’ve seen in any of the almost 10,000 films I’ve watched in my lifetime. Bold – certainly. Good – possibly. Funny – maybe to some. Terrible – definitely ( – for me).