I've been watching The Big C. It's not really driven by suspense or surprise so I don't think I'll be giving anything away. I didn't really like it much at first. I particularly didn't like things involving the Gabourey Sidibe character some of which has evened out. It could be said that the show asks the question: how would you live if you didn't have long to live and in some ways the answers were: spend money. However, it was funny enough and smart enough and the acting was good so I got through the first season and will watch more.
I think another reason I didn't like it was because the main character doesn't tell the people close to her about her illness because she doesn't want to deal with their response. She is surrounded by some particularly self absorbed people, mostly men and the few times she tries to tell them don't go well.
Thing have changed since I turned fifty. I love talking to my friends and for years I had great friends and lots of great conversations. But then my life seemed to stop working. And people stopped calling. I pretty sure I've mentioned that at least one friend said in pretty much these words that my life was too hard for her. It was one of the most hurtful things that ever happened to me and I have not really and truly recovered. Eventually I stopped talking about how I was. If someone asks I say fine.
And for the most part I am fine.
By the end of the first season she's come to realize that she needs to let the people in her life help her and even when that help isn't even close to what she really needs and wants she lets it happen.
I miss talking. There was a time when I was someone who people wanted to talk to and called often. I remember once, years ago, being extremely depressed. A friend called with her own depression and I sort of turned down the volume on my own stuff, talked to her and the minute I hung up went right back into my own depression.
Of all the post fifty changes, the increase in disability, the decrease in ability to digest sugar, the under and unemployment. the anhedonia, of all these things the loss of conversation has been the hardest to accept.
It's not that I never talk. I still have a talk or two. But the impulse to call someone has been squelched. When someone asks me how I am I don't have much to say. I have a place to live. I have food. I have books. I have movies. I'm extremely lucky.
When I was commuting I met a woman who lived a block and and a half away. We'd lived that close for many years and never met until we were on the same bus and train. From the minute we met we talked and talked and talked. Sometimes on Fridays she'd say something about getting together and we'd both be up for the idea but then almost simultaneously we'd say but not this weekend. We knew we'd enjoy getting together but we valued our time off and time alone. Most of my friends have jobs and families and life is a constant to do list. I know that many people love me and may even think about calling but the day goes by and it falls off the list. It's not about me. I know that in my head. But it feels like I'm just not as compelling as I once was. And, in truth, I also still value time alone.
So that part of the show rankled. I feel like it's an imbalance in my life and I need to sort it out a bit more. I'm just not sure how.
Just before I turned off the television last night I saw that Crystal Palin has a show coming up. Nothing should be surprising about reality TV but it hit me in some weird way.
And then I was reading a short story by Lorrie Moore in The New Yorker in which one of the characters says: do you ever wonder why so many people have things they don't deserve but how absurd all those things are to begin with?
Yes. Yes I do.