Monday, April 29, 2013

Mad Menderplatz

Maybe it is all the grey clouds of this afternoon or the hovering helicopter that lingered right near my apartment building last night for 40 minutes at around midnight last night or my dream the previous night of delivering a stillborn child but I find myself under siege by existential dread today. It may be a mild form though since I have managed to laugh a few things and even had a pleasant lunch with my mother. Still, I can actually pinpoint the moment this strange mood began. It was during last night's episode of Mad Men. I was watching a scene when the characters find out about Martin Luther King Jr. being assassinated. I was transported, as I often am while watching that show.  In retrospect, I may actually be too invested in Mad Men. The series has become a thing of dark beauty. I get the sensation I am slowly descending an ancient, spiral staircase into the dark recesses of humanity at the middle of the 20th century. I often think of what's happening with the story and the characters and I just feel how badly it will all end and I see almost everything as fraught with symbolism which (co?)incidentally is the way I think about things that actually exist as opposed to, you know, a fucking television show. I'm actually a bit relieved the seasons are only 13 episodes long because if I had to put up with this for any longer, I might put a foil hat on my head, sit in a corner and rock back and forth for a few  years. In fact, lately when I watch the series, I get the same sensations that I got when I watched Berlin Alexanderplatz. And no one wants that. No one.

In keeping with the theme of the day, I watched an episode of 20/20 that featured an hour's worth of truly disturbing subject matter; the kind that occurs to you only when you are lying in your bed at midnight, trying to sleep but hearing a helicopter hovering and searching for what is, without a doubt, an axe murderer. Por ejemplo, the episode included the story of the Boston marathon bombers carjacking victim and his act of desperation that ended well for him but could have easily ended very badly, the story of a horrific 118 car pileup in Texas which was almost cartoonish in its violence and the piece de resistance: a training video that was produced to prepare people for a mass shooting in an office. Let me repeat that information: there is a training video produced by the Department of Homeland Security that instructs people on what to do in the event that their office is overtaken by an insane person with a gun.

This is the world we live in right now. I fully expect that these kinds of videos will become the norm right alongside those endless power point slides about sexual harassment in the workplace. I am old/young enough to remember when this shit was an anomaly. I'm no longer surprised when I hear about it happening. But this, this training video? This surprised me.

I suppose the culmination of all of those things is what has me in a kind of stasis, mentally. In fact, I'm reasonably certain that all the activities I've done today have been on auto pilot. Perhaps I should have called in sick.

I'm going to attempt another blog everyday month beginning May 1. I tend to pick the longest months because I'm a masochist. If there is anything you want to suggest I blog about, please comment below or over on facebook. I'm pretty sure I'll run out of ideas by May 10.

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