I'm in a bad place tonight
Let me stave off the spate of phone calls and responses that this kind of entry engenders: I am fine. I am venting. I am in a bad mood. I am self-pitying and depressed. This kind of thing has to happen periodically.
I guess what kicked it off this time was a conversation I had in the wee hours this morning. It was one of those "If you could live anywhere..." things and I brought up Wien (Vienna). A couple of others thought that was a good idea and one thing led to another. We talked about all the sights available in this truly wonderful city. I contend that it is the only place in the world where you can walk in a public park (safely, I might add) and by chance encounter couples waltzing to Strauss. That, if naught else, makes it unique and worthy of residence.
Someone mentioned the Wiener Staatsoper and that pretty much set me spiralling. When I was 15 I spent a season going to the Opera. I was entranced by just the concept of opera and the execution by the Viennese was breathtaking. I have only a recollection of awe and wonder. I am fairly certain that I saw Schwansee (Swan Lake) and something or other Wagnerian but I can't remember precisely what. I returned to Vienna briefly in '72 and was able to see Tristan and Isolde. I still found it overwhelming.
It was then that I realized fully that that couldn't ever happen again. Almost 2 years ago I went to Six Flags to ride the roller coaster. Those who know me well, will remember that in Tampa I selected my home based on its proximity to Bush Gardens and the roller coasters therein. I was a fan of roller coasters. My last ride on a roller coaster taught me that without my vision I am no longer a fan. It's not the same ride for me anymore. I no longer like it.
I can go see the opera. I can go see a play. But I can never see them. That sense of being 'caught up' in such things is gone. That sense of absorption in such a thing is lacking in my life these days.
When I could read I often found myself so engrossed that one had to actually touch me to get my attention. Calling my name didn't work. Shouting my name didn't work. When I wrote, in those days, I immersed myself and was so enthralled by the process that I was often genuinely surprised to learn I had written 20, 30, even 50 thousand words at a sitting. I enjoyed reading what I had just written; it seemed new to me.
This level of concentration, this sedulous immersion is a thing of the past. It left me with my sight. I am not certain why.
Typing used to be without effort and is now arduous. Reading which was pleasantly beyond effortless is now unpleasantly beyond arduous. I keep exploring alternatives to the way I used to do things but they never offer me the same (or anything close to) the immersion in tasks I once had.
I once had a discussion with my son Joey. He is a cartoonist who refuses to do cartooning as a profession. He is afraid that doing what he loves as a job will make it unenjoyable. I feel as though that has happened to me on the grandest scale possible. I used to move effortlessly through my life. I now find the day-to-day minutia of my existence burdensome. I want at least a few things to be easy and natural instead of planned with care and executed with difficulty.
On an entirely different note I saw Slipstream today. The movie was written, directed, performed, even scored, by Anthony Hopkins. As you probably know, Hopkins is a prime favorite of mine among actors. Slipstream disappointed me, however. It is another one of those movies that I have difficulty criticizing but still don't like. The acting, story, plot, direction, cinematography, even the music was good. It was (intentionally) disjointed, surrealistic, and somewhat dream-like. In most circumstances none of this form an impediment to my enjoyment of a movie. In this case, for some reason, they did. I really don't recommend it unless you're just a Hopkins fan and want to complete your collection or something