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Monday, May 2, 2016

Detached but Curious

Spent the afternoon watching the documentaries on the 60s and 70s produced by Tom Hanks for CNN. It was riveting. The first episode I watched was a huge blast from the past, TV in the 70s. And I still know most of the lines. The quotes chosen happened to coincide with some memes floating through my facebook page. Hawkeye Pierce declaring was is worse than Hell, for one. But all my old favorites were there. And the teenager got to see a wider range of shows that her mom and I grew up on that influenced how we grew up. Kinda. In snippets, it's hard to get the big picture. This way at least it is a wider lens even if the image is a bit fuzzy around the edges. The  concept of "event" television still eludes her. With the other episodes, the ones that dealt with inflation, the 76 election, the hostage crisis... well, I know I was there for all of it when it happened. I just don't seem to be able to completely recall it from inside my own body.

It's weird to say. Trust me, it's even weirder to experience. The news announcements seemed familiar, as if I have them stored somewhere in my mind and have glanced at the content here and there. Then, I could see myself as a child with Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather at all of these events and broadcasting. I am sitting and the large brown toned rag rug that filled the living room's open floor, a scattering of toys around me and some of them in my mouth. I can feel the smooth sides of the yellow shapes that go in the red and blue puzzle ball, feel some drool hit my leg and turn from cold to warm. I see myself pick up another toy, wave it around then stare blankly at the TV.

Some of the most significant events of the 1970s happened between 70 and 73. I was 18 months to 3 years old. The news coverage of the Vietnam War, the images from Rather and Wallace's broadcasts made their impression. As I watch myself watch those images, I realize that I never thought it was real. I thought dad was watching World War II movies. Again. The idea that the war was happening as I was being brought into the world didn't even really hit me in history class. It always felt like it was one of those "Mom Things".

There are things that are unique to my formative experience that my mother would never participate in as aa contemporary. The decades that come before us in her formative years influenced how she saw things that happened as we were growing up. That is just how it is. Same with dad. It is probably what accounts, in some part, for the generation gap. There are things, thanks to reruns, that I can't experience the way she did because I wasn't there for the first run. I had no personal connection to Kennedy so the replays when the conspiracy theorists opened all wounds did not cut me at all. My mother? She cried every time. Somehow, even though I know that I absorbed everything that happened around me, I am still detached in many ways from the events around the world.

Detached but curious.

And I see that is how most of my life has really been. I am detached but curious about a lot of things. I am detached from my family relationships, curious as to how this whole thing operates, detached from my classmates, detached from people whom facebook believes are close friends, and detached from people I consider close friends, I am detached from people, not from outcomes. I am detached from the human experience but not from information, I thrive on gaining new input. And sometimes I get really excited about sharing it. But I do not really have attachments to people unless except for cultural icons from whom useful information is gained.

No wonder I have a hard time with the daily activities required to exist.

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