Staccato Thoughts # 1

May 06, 2009

At work my brain tends to wander then fixate in a weird meditative loop on certain things. I suspect they are things that have elusive psychological currents running beneath that my mind works to untangle. Lately at work I’ve been spending lots of time sculpting/reconstructing a huge intricate Mayan frieze, and I find my mind will fixate on a theme or scene from a film or lyrics to a song and I’ll just churn it over in my brain for hours. Usually they are things I haven’t seen or thought about in years, but suddenly present themselves center stage in my thoughts while I work. I thought I should start keeping track of those thoughts to see if there is any design or pattern in them.

I found myself thinking a lot about the ruthless lawyer from the film Indecent Proposal. First when he fields the call about the proposal in front of clients who are looking for an especially cut throat lawyer. Also later when Robert Redford admires his thoroughness in having the heart attack stipulation in the sex contract, and again later when he suddenly becomes interested in Woody Harrelson’s regrets when he senses he can get Woody’s money and suddenly leaps off the treadmill. Why am I so invested in this character? I have no idea. But I thought about him for at least a couple hours.

These beautiful Fever Ray lyrics haunted my mind:

Dangling feet from window frame
will I ever ever reach the floor?
More, give me more, give me more
Crushed and filled with all I found
underneath and inside just to come around
More, give me more, give me more

I kept thinking about this I Love Lucy episode where the gang goes to France and everybody buys the same painting from a conman artist for each other. Of course much hilarity ensues when they all reveal their presents later.

I thought for a while about the scene in Kill Bill where Uma Thermon’s character isn’t ninja enough to get that one guy and he stops her from fighting him by asking if she wants to be buried with a knife (or was it a flashlight?). There was something oddly respectful about that, and interesting in the psychology in how that got her to stop resisting him.

Got fixated on the Elliot Smith lyrics:

You got a look in your eye when you’re saying goodbye like you want to say hi.

Imagined a showdown conversation with a woman from my nearish past who did me wrong. I almost never berate people because nine times out of ten I regret it later. Unlike when I say something nice about someone, and I usually feel good about it later. Still in my mind I imagined what I would say to her if I gave voice to my frustrations:

I have just enough sympathy left for you to feel bad that your good looks are probably going to ruin your life
you’ve decided you have no accountability and that you can take whatever you want from whomever has it
but though the ripples seem benign and you’re sailing safely water tight and buoyed
at some point probably in the far future you’ll look back and realize you payed for those short term gains at far too high a price
and those ripples returned as waves that smashed and splintered you
leaving the resounding crash of thunder in your ears
…but maybe it won’t.
Maybe the universe doesn’t keep as tight a spreadsheet as I think
and you can slip through unharmed and never earn what you get or get what you deserve.
I wonder which will be worse for you?

More Elliot Smith lyrics:

everybody knows
everybody knows
you only live a day
but it’s brilliant anyway

Flaming Lips Lyrics:

one more robot want’s to be
something more than a machine

  1. You have no idea how amazingly interesting even your most banal thoughts are.

    So far.

    And fantasising about what you would tell people who did you wrong, if you had the heart to, is very satisfying. In the end it doesn’t matter if they know. I always prefer myself, over people I have decided not to worry about any more. So it’s nice enough to keep my thoughts to myself.

    Also, it’s quite magnificent, how powerful Elliott could make the most simple lines sound, isn’t it.

  2. Thank you. You always have such thoughtfull comments.

    I agree it’s almost always a waste of time berating someone. I noticed at some point I almost never regret being nice, but often regret being mean to people. But recently I wondered about this long held stance, as I considered that the times I’ve grown most drastically were when I finally pushed someone too far and they lashed back at me with full abandon, and in the honesty of their anger I learned a truth about myself that I had been ignoring, and subsequently became a better person for acknowledging and working to correct.

    It’s weird, every couple years I oscillate between thinking Eliot smith was an over rated indulgent emo junky, to thinking he never got his due as a poet and masterful songwriter. I can’t think of any other musician I have this bipolar opinion of. Needless to say I’m currently in period of reverie.

  3. That’s a very good point. Yes, I too appreciate when someone feels so provoked to be completely honest with me. But I’m much like you, I never regret being nice either. I can relate to what you said exactly.

    Haha that’s precisely why I never understood why Elliott is so popular. I saw some of his lyrics and heard one single song and thought, man that’s nothing. Though once you listen to an entire album, I like especially the self titled one, you can feel that he was so sincere, and really meant everything he sang about. I love that, as cheesy as it is.

    Thank you as well.


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