I feel that the worst part of the year starts with 2nd January. The days are getting minutely longer, it is true, but up until now I’ve had Chanukah and the bank holiday season as something to look forward to and keep me going. Now the coldest, snowiest part of winter is about to begin and there’s nothing to look forward to for months on end (and even then the first things are Purim and Pesach, the two Jewish festivals that are most difficult with social anxiety, autism and religious OCD). There’s a feeling of the hard slog through the guts of winter beginning now, or at least on Monday with my new job. Hopefully my light box will help a bit this year, although I’m not sure that I can use it on work days.
I think I’m going to scream next time someone talks about being on a “journey.” I’m not talking about literal journeys, but emotional, religious or educational ones. It’s become such a cliché. When I was working in further education, my boss used to complain of the way the college spoke about students being on “learning journeys.” “They aren’t on a journey, they’re in college!” I’ve seen it used a lot by religious leaders and secular inspirational speakers. I imagine politicians use it, but I don’t really pay much attention to what they say any more. Journalists certainly do. I know I’ve used it myself, mostly to reassure myself that I’m making some kind of progress with my life when I’ve missed all the life-cycle events that my peers have achieved in the last decade and a half. Like all clichés, it gets used out of convenience, to stop us having to think of something new. But new metaphors bring new insights, while clichés do our thinking for us, as George Orwell pointed out. Maybe that should be my secular New Year’s resolution, to think of a new metaphor for life that isn’t a “journey.”
The best sentence I’ve seen online in a long time (from Snopes.com): “Although these books contain some seemingly bizarre coincidences, they are not evidence that Donald Trump has access to a time machine.” I’m glad we got that cleared up, I was worried for a moment there. Let’s face it, if anyone was going to go back in time and try to become his own grandfather, it’s Donald Trump.
To business, such as it is: I went to bed early last night as I was feeling shattered, but I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t fall asleep until nearly 2.00am, and then had the usual trouble waking up and getting up. It’s frustrating. I feel that this pattern is boring you as much as it’s worrying me by now. I had weird dreams too, but I can’t really make much of what little I remember of the imagery, except that there was stuff about being in Oxford and staying up during the holidays to work, which I did in my final year (as well as my abortive penultimate year) because I was struggling so badly with work because of depression. I’m not sure if that’s a disguised work anxiety or the result of going back over my Oxford experience for my novel.
I saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker today. I get six free cinema tickets a year from my bank, (because they have lousy interest rates, so they need other tactics to keep customers) and usually I only use one or two. I’m hoping to use more this year, although the ‘year’ started in mid-October and this is the first one I’ve used, so you can see how that intention is going. I discovered that they cover VIP seats in 2D films as well as ordinary seats, so I picked a VIP seat, only to discover that VIP seats are not noticeably more comfortable than ordinary seats, they just have leather, or leather-effect, seat covers. Then some kids or teenagers behind me talked through the beginning of the film. I gave them a few minutes to quieten down, but when they didn’t, and one did nothing to stop his phone ringing, I moved elsewhere. The cinema was two-thirds empty, so I found an empty spot easily enough, but I must have been annoyed with the kids to risk the “everyone staring at me” feeling of standing up in the middle of the film and walking several rows further forward to find a new seat.
I didn’t enjoy the film, finding it derivative. The previous two episodes in the trilogy were also derivative, but I enjoyed them nevertheless, but this one was also confusing and boring, which are worse sins. I do feel vaguely guilty that I criticised yesterday’s Doctor Who and now I’m criticising this, which makes me feel like I’m going back to being an troll, or at least one of those geeks who enjoys tearing the films and TV programmes he supposedly loves to pieces. I don’t want to be like that, I want to like things, but I am honest about what I like. I suppose it’s all relative; if I was going to write reviews of the Bond films I’ve been watching recently, I could write positive reviews of a number of fan-hated ones. I think I have a general thing with big franchises and big fandoms of liking the “turkeys” and not always liking the “classics.”
That took up a big chunk of the afternoon (I slept through the morning), not least because I don’t have a local cinema so going to see a film always takes a while. I did do a bit of Torah study, but that was about it. Tomorrow will be a rush too (winter Friday). Winter can be a killer like that. The days just seem to shrivel up in the cold.