Saturday, August 07, 2004

Light bulb moments

We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it. William Hazlitt

Ain't that the truth?

Stop thinking about the rules and regulations, forms and formats of writing and let the writing come as it will. Maybe that's why my journal entries flow so well; I don't think about it when I'm writing; I just write. It's the reason I decided to join [info]elementalmuse on DJ and then LJ, because it gave me the freedom to just write the way I write in my paper journals. I don't think about all the forms and rules and wherefores and whats; I just write. Whether that translates to something worth reading is another thing all together, but I'm pleased with what I write. It is also the way I talk. When you hear me holding forth on religion or history or writing, art, movies, whatever, it's the same as talking to me. Of course, in person you would get it at a much faster pace and you should see it when I type it out. It's probably better to read me than to listen to me ramble in person.

And speaking of rambling, I watched Living out Loud and it was better than the reviews made it out to be. There is a bit of confusion as to what is being acted out from her thoughts and what is real, but the confusion lasts only for a second. I was amused (read: laughed out loud) after Judith, played by Holly Hunter, gets up out of bed and jumps out her window and the television reporter says she jumped out her window and fell on top of her ex-husband and his new wife, killing all three of them. Now that would be the way to go, especially if you can take your husband and his floozy with you. I have to admit I had a moment of fondness for the new wife because I like the actress, but when she began talking about how she was a good person and had been brought up in a Christian home that honored and revered families and she would never have broken up a marriage . . . and on and on until Holly Hunter cuts her off, I wanted to slap her silly. She knew the man was married (and a lecherous jerk to boot) and she went with him anyway, falling in love and taking him from his loveless marriage. I understand the story is about Judith and her feelings and her husband is as seen thru her eyes, but she does an admirable job of taking half the blame when he refuses to take any of it. She tells him she doesn't blame him for leaving her because she left her long before he did. Personally, I don't have as much of a problem with men who cheat, but men who cheat and act superior and moral give me the urge to grab a sharp filleting knife and skinning them alive -- literally. At least be man enough to admit you're a jerk or that you were looking for more than you could get from your marriage, but don't try to take the moral high ground because there ain't any. I should know; I've been on both sides of the equation and I fell in love with a married man I knew was married before I got involved. I don't claim any moral superiority; it is just a fact of my life that I am neither ashamed or proud of.

I was struck by the fact that once again a movie is centered around the human need to be touched. Judith stopped touching her husband and he stopped touching her. She stopped touching the world and everything in it, rather existing in a state of limbo where emotion and touch were half remembered things, ghosts of reality. That has been a theme for me lately. The lack of touch. I'm not talking about the virtual touch of mind to mind or heart to heart, but the actual physical act of touching another human being and being touched in return. Or touching any living animal for that matter. Did you know that the SPCA donates dogs and cats to the residents of nursing homes and senior living facilities and that the act of petting the animals lowers the blood pressure and gives the people a sense of comfort? Why wouldn't it? You're touching another living thing and they are touching you: licking you, rubbing against you, being the very essence of communication: touch. It's probably why single women, especially old single women, who live alone have so many animals; they need to touch and be touched.

In a way, I think touch anchors us in this reality, makes us more real. Why else do you think men and women cheat? It isn't because of the sex, it is because of the need, the biological, deep down, gotta have it or I'll die need to touch and be touched. I'd be willing to bet that if you polled married couples you would find that their relationships began to fail when they no longer touched each other . . . and I don't mean the usual kind of touching, but the kind of touching that actually anchors us in reality and to each other. The kind of touch that signals the person is completely involved, communicating with you on a deep emotional level. I'd also be willing to bet that sex, while it feels good (incredible sometimes), isn't really about sex but about that deep emotional touching that comes with it.

There is a scene where Judith comes home drunk, disappointed that she has been stood up. She is angry and hurt and she needs something. Danny DeVito (who knew he could be such a sensitive and caring person when he played Louie DePalma in Taxi) tries to talk to her but she doesn't want to hear it. She doesn't want him. She wants someone who takes her breath away and makes her feel real. She calls a male masseur, who only massages women (says so in his ad), and he comes and sets up. He is a cute and beefy hunk who sets up his table and strips off his clothes down to his jockeys, but he is more than willing to take them off, too. Judith asks if she can decide later. He begins touching her and encouraging her to touch him, even to the point of putting one of her hands on his oh so firm and touchable cheeks. You can almost feel the silky smoothness of his skin, the play of muscles under the skin, and the warmth and scent of him warming and rising and filling your mind and your senses. HIs pulses quickens, his breathing is faster as she touches him while he's massaging her, giving her what she needs, and she slips her hands into the waistband of his shorts. It's sexual but it's not.

Touch is luxurious, it's elemental, it's a staff of life. It really isn't about the sex; it's about the touch, the need to be anchored in this world and to someone who touches you back, who lets you know they are an inextricable part of you and you are an inextricable part of them. You can live without food and you can go a long time without water, but I am beginning to see that we cannot live without touch and yet we do. We brush past each other, impersonal strangers that are as nebulous and ghostly to us as we are to them until we touch and the touch is echoed in our eyes, our breathing, our connection, our communication between each other. It's all about the touch.

Are we so busy making money and going about our daily ruts that we fail to notice that we have stopped touching, that we have stopped communicating on the most basic levels? Is that what is really going on?