Wednesday, July 17, 2013

One Of Us, One Of Us

I went to see Pacific Rim last weekend and really enjoyed it, to my great surprise. I guess I forgot I was a nerd after all. I definitely remembered it though, when Ron Perlman appeared and I was tempted to yell at the screen: "Holy shit, it's Ron Perlman! Hurry up and make another Hellboy movie before you get too goddamned old!"

I used to be into all this stuff: monsters and aliens and Del Toro movies, comic books and Lord of the Rings and the X-Files. I remember being a teenager and staying up late on Wednesday nights to watch the X-Files at 10pm, clutching my pillow tightly in case it got too frightening (I am a wuss). I even watched the disappointing X-files movies, years later, and here's the kicker: even though they sucked, I still want them to make another one.

But over the last couple of years I've lost my love of nerdy pop culture. I stopped buying comics when I realised the last Hellblazer trade paperback I bought was still unopened, in its original bag. It's not like I ever got to redeem anything at Comics Mart, anyway - I always lost that little stamp-card they issued, and then they closed down for good. (I wish I could say I had good memories of it, but how I hated going into the Serene Centre branch - it was always full of creepy guys standing around, breathing through their mouths and staring in disdain.) In time, I also came to the sad realization that Neil Gaiman is overrated, and Alan Moore is kind of a pervert. (Having said that, I'm still reading and collecting The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, though the sex is getting weirder and weirder.)

Perhaps it's because I was always used to enjoying all these things by myself. I was never part of a community, or even a group of friends who had similar interests. The circles I travel in are all just diverse enough that nothing really connects - the people I know only like anime, or Magic: The Gathering, or Batman comics, or Star Wars, and that's all. No crossovers. Plus, I never bothered to seek out people with the same inclinations. I was always too busy reading or watching stuff in my room, alone. When I used to watch the X-Files on Wednesday nights, the only other X-Files fan in school was a kid two years younger than me. We had a few awkward conversations about our favourite episodes and then it crumbled into one of those wave-and-smile acquaintanceships. No big loss.

Still, without that sense of community, it's far too easy to drift off and let go of the things you once loved. What am I into now? Work, mostly. Listening to Butch Walker songs online, shopping for that perfect black leather jacket (found it). Playing with the dog, cooking and cleaning and tending to the hundred and one chores and errands that come with being a home owner. Trying to write. I guess it's not very interesting, compared to the highs and lows of being a pop culture nerd ("Oh my god the author is in town and signing books!" or "They totally fucked up the movie version I was waiting my whole life for!")

Sometimes I'm a little bit envious of my best friend, who got into Korean pop at the advanced age of 28 (29, now). She talks about how she actually holds a position within the subbing community and how the younger girls refer to her by the Korean term for "older sister" (Nuna). They meet up occasionally for dinners and trade links and videos of their favourite boyband stars. It all sounds very much like the fan community for One Direction, which one of my students loves to bits. (Don't laugh at her - she's very much a typical teenage girl.) She told me about how the fans tweet at each other, sending reminders and alerts about upcoming concerts, single releases, performances and birthdays. They are a sisterhood dedicated to the blandly adorable human puppies of One Direction.

Then I ask myself, do I want that? It would be nice to talk about things I enjoy with other people, instead of letting the dog knock over small ornaments with his tail and pretending he's a kaiju ("Who's mommy's little monster? Who's destroying the city? Yes, you are, yes you are!") But I think I haven't much practice being enthusiastic about things with other people. I have professional mode, and I have personal life mode, and that's pretty much it. I don't have play with strangers mode. And I'm not yet convinced that the pay-off is worth the effort of interaction. So I'll probably book tickets early for the sequel to Pacific Rim when it comes out, but I won't be talking much about it afterwards... except to the dog.

Friday, July 5, 2013

After The Feast

I had my wisdom tooth out a few days ago. It was a pre-emptive strike, brought on by a secondary school friend's impacted horror that culminated in a nasty root canal. After he told us in gruesome detail about it, everyone ran to their dentists and arranged for their own wisdom tooth extractions. Peer pressure is a powerful force, even at the age of 29.

Before my surgery, I was determined to indulge myself beyond all reason. I went out for tapas and sangria, I wore my new skinny black Theyskens' Theory jeans, I had foie gras for dessert and fried chicken as starters. I ate clams vongole and a wagyu beef burger with truffle fries (not on the same day). On the day my extraction was scheduled for, I polished off not one, but two McMuffins (sausage and egg, and chicken).

I thought perhaps I'd overdone things - really planted myself on the path to morbid obesity this time - but after the extraction I lost all desire to eat. It's been three days and I've been living off soup and Milo, mostly just so I can take my antibiotics. My extraction site doesn't bother me much, but everything either has no taste or (weirdly enough) is far too salty. I guess it's the famine after the feast.

The meds or the lack of calories have made me unusually sleepy and not interested in doing much beyond gazing slack-jawed at the television. Not that I've been able to follow much on the screen; somehow nothing captures my attention. Even the dog seems to think I'm no fun anymore. I don't talk much and I don't think much.

I wish I was still interested in life, in going out and seeing new things and making stuff. The irony is that this is the longest break from work I've had all year, and I'm spending it in hibernation, sleeping most of the time. It was too much of an effort to even chew tofu today.

I was all prepared for dry socket, excruciating pain, annoying stitches and non-stop bleeding - but I've suffered none of them, only this strange anhedonia which is really bumming me out. I've got all the time in the world, and absolutely no interest in the world itself. Time to head back to bed.