Friday, 15 August 2014

Lives under a microscope

It's been a strange week...

News of Robin Williams came as a shock. It was one of those bolts from the blue. I don't follow celebrity gossip or news much so I wasn't aware of the problems he'd suffered.

I was still in the throes of rewrites but had to take a break. As I clicked my electric kettle for tea, it came to me that all the small tasks we perform each day we take for granted. We go about our business, sometimes automatically. We think about what needs doing next, the following day or a holiday that will take us away from the thousands of small tasks we perform. At that moment, I felt the importance of small tasks. I don't often think 'in the moment.' I found myself saying:
"I can do this. I can make tea and then continue rewrites. Robin cannot."
Suddenly my day seemed to stretch out before me.

I felt extremely sad that someone had found their problems so intolerable that they'd become frozen within them then couldn't see any way out, except one. Over tea, I told my teen son:
"It must be terrible to have become so overcome that you resort to suicide.
He said:
"You'd have to be in a bad place to do it."
I agreed but he looked at me with a funny look on his face then said:
"What if, there wasn't any other way out?"
I wasn't sure what he meant.
"What if, the mafia were after you, their top hit-men. You knew that wherever you went they'd find you?"
I thought:
'Trust him to think along those lines.' I told him:
"In that case I'd have to try to get them first. At least I'd go out trying."
"What if, you had a disease and no cure. You knew that your natural end would be bad?"
"That would be a hard one. You'd have to decide while you were still able to do it yourself. You couldn't put that responsibility on someone else, not if you wanted to go peacefully."
"What if, you lost everything. Your relatives, husband, money, house, everything?"
"Then, I'd have to start again at Year Zero."
"What if, you lost yourself?"
That question I couldn't answer. It seemed ironic that my rewrites involved a Reverend who did exactly that.

Later this week I heard that Lauren Bacall had died, aged 89. She's one of those Hollywood icons who instantly brings to mind sultry beauty. She continued to look good in old age, not full of plastic. I couldn't help but think how she had lived to "a good age" as most people say. I couldn't help but make a comparison with Robin. 

Yes, it's been a strange week. I don't think I can ever watch a Robin Williams film in the same way again. I was reminded of Peter Sellers. I remember watching a film called Being There. Maybe, instead of watching one of the film tributes on telly, I'll watch that. It was a pity that Robin never made the remake.