Existential Dread of TV

I saw this exchange on facebook this morning…

Person 1 – Been waking up in the middle of the night out of a sound sleep for weeks now. Can’t get back to sleep

Person 2 – Ughhh. Here too, its weird in the winter…. At least in summer you can hang out on the patio and look up at the moon. Too cold for that now, have to settle for crappy tv

Person 3 – Haven’t sleep thru the night in 15 YEARS. My mind just NEVER stops and when i lay down it is the LOUDEST. It is like torture , I WOULD DIE WITH OUT MY TV LOL> If i didn’t listen to every rerun of Friends, Frasier or George Lopez i would scratch my own eyes out LOL

Person 2 – don’t get me wrong, I love crappy tv… Esp George Lopez lol. And hgtv, but i’m thinking it may be the ridiculous political news sites that make me unable to shut my eyes

Person 3 – OMG if i watched that crap i would have to take 5 more Xanax to fall asleep. I keep up with current events and watch enough news local and national to stay informed but come night night time that is LAST thing i could turn on unless i want to have a freaken panic attack. I turn on All the reruns because they DON’T engage my mind but provide just enough noise to shut down that fucking HAMSTER ON A WHEEL that runs in MY BRAIN the MINUTE i lay down EVERY night . I am a prisoner in my own mind and if it wasn’t for my tv and reruns i would NEVER SLEEP

Person 2 – also love Criminal Minds and Blue Bloods… Or an I Love Lucy marathon… Whatever it takes!

Person 3 – OH NO i can’t watch SERIOUS shows because then even with my eyes closed i start listening and then i AM DRAWN in to the plot. AND crack me up with I LOVE LUCY because some nights i fall asleep watching FRASIER , Then at 5 am the MUSIC to The I Love Lucy show comes on and i might as well set an Alarm clock. It wakes me out of a DEAD sleep.

Person 2 – I wake up every couple hours so usually wake up and change channel to what I know will bore me the most

This was followed by a discussion of which drugs and what liquor can help the most for sleeping.

 

I think if I start speaking my mind about what I see from the perspective of others, I’m stepping into territory that will make me sound high and mighty (I’m not) and piss off a great many people.

But.

Here goes.

Half the problem in the country is that none of us know how to be quiet with ourselves.

How to just sit and just be.

Maybe I’m talking about meditation, I don’t know, I’ve never been successful at meditation.

But I do understand how to notice what’s going on in the mind, question why it’s choosing to go that way, and how to redirect my mind to more productive thoughts. (Productive in the way of chemical brain changes. Yay science!)

I’m not an expert in this shit. I don’t know what I’m talking about at all. I haven’t even gotten ¼ of the way through my first cup of coffee. I just know that something is wrong with this whole American scenario. Work and TV as a life? Ugh.

*******

I’m back. After seeing my honey off to work and filling the birds feeders before the snow starts.

I know I don’t have any right to judge another – especially as they do whatever it takes to get through the days, the weeks, their lives – but I can’t think of anything more horrifying than TV as a balm.

Everyone looks to distraction to hide from themselves and their own minds.

This is a theme for me. Note yesterday’s blog post where I quoted what Eugene Delacroix says to himself in 1824 – “Poor fellow! How can you do great work when you’re always having to rub shoulders with everything that is vulgar.”

Nothing is more vulgar than TV.

You really want to sleep while all the night long while inane babble drills into your psyche? (I really don’t want anyone to scratch you own eyes out but, seriously? Is this bombardment of boredom really the only other option?)

When do you take the time to learn what you think?

Why do you try to shut your voice down? How does that help?

I understand the desire to quiet the worries, the fears, and the unhelpful stuff the brain throws at us. I carry around more existential dread on a minute to minute basis than most people I know. But drowning it in commercialism, drugs and mass market entertainment does not lead to contentment and peace of mind. Of this I am sure.

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Because my hugging friend said “The world needs art right now”

It truly is rather nightmarish.

The way this Neolithic evil clown came plodding towards me in an expensive business suit,

dragging a foot in the last century,

and gnashing his teeth like a homophobic bully troll.

He wasn’t really a threat. And I was not yet scared.

As he got closer and closer, he got uglier and uglier.

I could see there was a list in his tiny hand.

My name wasn’t on the list. (But it was no consolation.)

Still this knuckle dragging monster came persistently towards me,

single minded and unhinged.

He said he could save me.

I looked away.

I do not enjoy the taste of bile.

He was slow, I could stay out of his path.

He was too much a caricature to be really afraid of.

His weird mouth and fake hair

like a cliché Disney Monster with a hunch back and crooked nose.

It made me made me point and laugh (this nightmare is just silly!)

Yet onward he came… unstoppingly

inching ever closer to me,

saying under his hateful breath,

“I’m comin for ya, I’m comin for ya.”

Months upon months upon months (a recurring nightmare,)

“I’m comin for ya, I’m comin for ya”

In my nightmare he whispered that he would take away my heathen neighbors, and my Mexican judges, (what the fuck are you talking about?) and beat my uppity blacks,

and I laughed.

I am American. You are no threat to me! (the illusion of safety)

A buffoon, not a monster.

He had a bullseye on me – “Comin for ya, comin for ya.”

He said he’d grab my pussy, imprison me inside a wall.

I tried to ignore him.

He got so close I could hear his knuckles scrapping the pavement of modern America.

I wanted to wake up from this nightmare.

I looked away (desperately) and waited (prayed) for daylight.

Months upon months of unending pursuit and veiled threats.

And yet….

I still felt blindsided when he landed on me.

Like 270 steampunk spiders found me sleeping in my own cozy web.

Like I was innocently crossing a street and a semi truck filled with deplorables came outa nowhere and mowed me down.

I woke screaming

I feel like I got hit by someone else’s dream bus filled with 1950s dinner-making wives,

and I can’t shake this feeling of dread and danger.

 

(That the American dream left me with.)

 

I saw a friend I love.

He’d had the same dream.

We held each other like two who had lost a beloved parent or close friend.

There were no words.

And the mere fact of being held by him, in the face of all that is horrifying and surreal

brought the first tears to my eyes.

Apparently our love was not enough to stop this vile thing.

The color of everything seems different now.

My beautiful purples gone sickly grey.

My vibrant reds look like drying blood.

My painting is ruined.

 

It cannot end on this note.

There must be a….

a….

a….

a thing to do

a way to work

a light to shine

Find it.

Find it ASAP

Uncle David – Veteran

It really pissed me off.

My mother’s brother, youngest of eight siblings, did three tours in Vietnam.

That part didn’t piss me off. I don’t know the circumstances around his decision to enter the military, I don’t even know if he was drafted against his will. But he did his duty to our country and I’ve always respected him for that.

When I was a stoned teenager I enjoyed listening to his stories of sitting in jungle trees, high on acid, watching the tracer bullets.

And all of my life I enjoyed his perspectives and his unique sense of humor.

What pissed me off was in 2002 on a random visit to his VA doctor, when the doctor said to my Uncle David “We’ll I’ll be damned! You’ve got that same tumor the rest of your company got. And it’s as big as a grapefruit.”

Really US Veterans Affairs, REALLY?

If the whole rest of his company got “the same tumor” why weren’t you monitoring him for it? Watching him closely for signs??? Then maybe you could have gotten it when it was the size of a pea, or if that’s too much to ask of modern medicine, the size of a golf ball at least. Not a fucking grapefruit.

My Uncle died on Christmas Eve 2003.

Uncle David

Boy can Uncle Same make corpses

Boy can Uncle Same make orphans

Boy can Uncle Same make Wi-ih-dooooes,,,,

Easy as toast

Bah dah dah daaaaaaaah

~~~~~~~~~ Tuli Kupferberg, Ed Sanders (The Fugs)