Monday, April 28, 2008

Old Lady-Crazy

I just devoured "Notes on a Scandal" in less than 24 hours. This is the most deliciously obsessive catalog of beautifully rendered rationalization and predation I've ever read. If you haven't read the book and you're into observing weirdos, I highly suggest you pick this one up. Compared to the book (a stew that is thick and warm enough to waft from the page and into your nostrils), the film is like hard plastic.

On the outside, this book is about a couple of teachers, one of whom begins an affair with a student. The other acts as a narrator for the story. After a few pages, it is obviously about the slimy eel-dance between predator and prey and the points at which we allow ourselves to become either one of them.

I loved reading about this old woman combing her existence for traces of other people's lint. I'm on the other side of that coin in that I obsessively try to comb other people's lint out of my experience. For the most part, I enjoy what I've learned from people more than I've ever enjoyed their company. Yep, that is an asshole way of looking at things and I might spend some quality time trying to fix that if this book (bless its little heart) didn't make it perfectly clear that the only thing that keeps us from lingering in guilt is self-mockery. The only thing that makes self-mockery possible is knowing that, without a doubt, there is always someone out there who is way worse than we are.

It must also be noted that mirrors like this come in handy when I allow myself to be comforted by the Sesame Street "my experience is terribly unique" ethos. The truth is, we're all just apes looking to bump uglies and pick off a few bugs until something turns our eye. Therefore, our "selves" are reflections of the things we covet and that, my dear friends, negates any stupid ideas we have of "individuality".