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Friday, 23 September 2011

Psychosis shopping aliens and Jane Eyre

On the weekend we went shopping with  a movie to follow in order to properly celebrate my genius  girl's exam results.  Jane Eyre was her movie  choice, and mine.  The boy came along, having reluctantly agreed to this movie choice, "Is there any battle scenes, fr'instance" he wanted to know, although  he knew quite well not.  I considered this. "Lets see, there is arson, insanity, child abuse, bloodletting, disfigurement, abandonment, bereavement. and last but not least a compelling love story (compelling to me anyway) but eh   no actual battle scenes.  As I said, he lent himself reluctantly to the expedition.

Shopping done;  clothes for the genius, a cunning book on drawing your own clothes designs for the boss, and books and a cd for the boy, we headed off down the motor way to the cinema.  The car for once smelling sweetly, of violets,  the boss having tried a sample bottle in the shop, and when she was told there was none left, bargained with the hapless assistant. to sell her the  sample bottle for one euro.

The boy's voice intruded on my casual road observance  "whats weed. ...I mean is weed the same as cannabis...hash...i mean".  "Why do you ask" was my cautious enquiry.  "Oh I heard someone mention it,  people  I know smoke it you know"  (ingeniously). ..people my age.  I told him that I did know, it was hash and people his age were in the greatest danger of developing psychosis, and a life long diagnosis of psychiatric illness, where they used this drug.  " oh  but  more likely if you use speed" Mum.  "No! I mean hash, dope, cannabis".  We have had this discussion before as I am particularly aware of these dangers from the work I do, and I am always curious as to what children  take on board , from the many many warnings, and serious talks one gives. "What s psychosis" the boss wants to know.  Now I 'm always hopeing for the appropriate interval, the  space in which to have these little discussions, and I am usually finding myself addressing them in the car,  or in company, or running late etc etc (watch the road!). "Yeah , well thats when you are out of touch with reality, like, um ' you might hear voices, or see thing that are not  there".  There is a short silence.  "Then the doctor will medicate you, and you will be diagniosed with an illness that may be permant.  Another silence.  "But, but what about Jesus, and the bible  hearing voices, god. and also spirits, ghosts" says the boss sternly.  "Well umm, the psychiatrist will very likely say thats all a departure from reality, as I 've said.  "Well thats justWRONG  to say hearing voices and seeing things cant be real just because THEY  cant hear it. How can they get away with that.  I hear things all the time.  "WHAT? YOU WHAT"?.  "Sure,  when I'm thinking, its like I can hear myself, the different voices thinking",  "Ah well" I say with relief, " you know this is you, you are doing this in your mind".    "Yeah, unless, like you, you are OUT  of your mind" the boy tells her.  "Muuum, Im trying to have a  SERIOUS CONVERSATION" , muuum".  I reprimand the boy, and switch lanes, as I have been behind a slow moving lorry for the past while,  sucked in to all this.  "Hah  IT WASNT ME, IT WAS THE VOICES" says the boy.  And suddenly the car is rocking gently with  hilarity as each child gives a rendition of  THE VOICES .  "But nonetheless I add firmly, this is a very good reason never to touch the stuff.  The damage might never be fixable. There is a lull and then "But Hey, thats .... what about the aliens" the boy is not laughing now.  He is a devoted fan of all theories  extra terrestrial, and lives to see a fully manifested alien one of the days. "What if you, I mean they (the mad people) saw an alien? " .  "I m afraid an alien is a complete no no for your average docter darling "  I say.  " Best keep that one to yoirself ....when the day comes,  " adds the dreaming genius.  And on the conversation meanders until we reach town and cinema.

"Not my cup of tea" the boy offered on the way home, "But it was quite good and if I couldnt have my preferred option, ie a day spent fishing, I'm not sorry you made me go!".  And that  vote of confidence is as good as it gets from the boy jury folks.   Truely  my cup it overfloweth. ."She wasnt plain enough though, ...the actress" our super girl  opined. I agreed and we talked about the fundamental inability of the movie industry to cast a plain, or even an ordinary looking actress, where it is required.  "But" I got in " she was plainly adorned and she managed to convey the essence of the idea that Jane was unburdened by the tryanny of appearance and , the slavery of  identification with the female peer group, she valued SPIRIT and hers was mighty,  a triumph of survival against great odds.  "And "I finish, on a roll, "her skill as an artist, her ability to create, was highly valued by herself and Mr. Rochester, and came from her unquenchable spirit."   Jane Eyer and me go a long way back.  She  was  the poster girl  for plain girls, intelligent girls,  girls who coundn't be doing with all that claustrophobic female fuss and clutter,  when I was a young woman.   That was a different era of course, and now the concentration on the outer, the preocupation with appearance, the  hair strighteners, make up, perma tan, designer garments, the  industry of diets,  and consequent eating distorders, self harming ; a deluge    overwhelming every female from tween to crone,  which  may be far more corrosive of the spirit, heart and soul than the horrors of Lowood,  the neglect and poverty experienced by Jane.

 And she and Mr Rochester were fine and satisfying lovers, spirit to spirit," we agree (mistily).   Yeah, butreut how coud they get away with paying Jane £15 a year?" dermanded the Boss,  "How could she be expected to live?  I mentioned faintly that it was "all Found". "Pardon?"  "All found, ie. she had bed and board, and only needed funds for dress and other personal items.  "Hmm said the boss unimpressed, that means she had NO CHOICE  about what she ate, or WHERE HER ROOM WAS , and she continued to ruminate about how much exactly £15 would be nowadays and what she herself would have insisted on in the situation., as I drove.  And I found myself thinking with  some  degree of wistfulness of having bed and board in Mr Rochesters house, and wandering through the grounds with my drawing pad, to commit  what ever took my fancy to canvas, including his dark and thrilling   face.