I'm afraid I may be becoming bitter and cynical in my young age.
I used to think I was, despite being often prone to cynicism and pessimism, a romantic at heart. I think I was, up until about three months ago. Something changed within the last three months, and I don't know what. I noticed the change largely from my reaction to watching three films in the past month.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. When I saw it in the cinema with a friend, I thought I was in heaven. Something about Jon Brion's soundtrack, Michel Gondry's visuals and Jim Carrey not being Jim Carrey lifted it completely out of the ordinary and into something transcendent. I'm not exaggerating, I really believed that. For moments during that film I was happy like I hadn't been for a long time. Like when I was in love.
I went to buy the book of the shooting script for the film the first day it came out, and had to go through four bookstores to find one copy. In one of the bookstores they told me somebody came in and bought four copies. Evidently other people loved this film just as much as I did.
The DVD finally came out recently and of course I bought it. And I watched it again, thinking I'd be transported back to the feeling I had before.
I felt nothing. And I don't know why.
Maybe I was just not in the mood that day?
All the Real Girls. Critics raved about the film, and its honest portrayal of young love. Having missed it when it was showing in the cinemas, I finally managed to get hold of the DVD.
Again, nothing. If anything, all I felt was irritation.
Then there was Before Sunset. I saw Before Sunrise, the original to which Before Sunset is a sequel, only several months ago, having seeked it out after reading the great reviews for Before Sunset and thinking I better watch the original first. And it was great. You'd never think a conversation between two people could hold that much screen time. Nice open ending too.
So I found time to go to the cinema to see Before Sunset. On my own, because none of my friends have seen Before Sunrise or would want to - I'm the only one who like romantic films I guess.
(Skip the next paragraph if you don't want a possible spoiler for the ending.)
Despite everyone saying it's an even better film than the original, Before Sunset didn't do much for me. I felt this irritation again, I'm not sure what it was, but I felt it throughout the film, especially at the ending which was far too positive for me. I found myself wanting fate to tear the two people apart again.
It's strange because nothing in particular happened in the past few months that should make me that bitter.
Is it just a phase? Or is it just part of growing older? Because I don't want to become bitter and cynical. I really don't.
Last night I went out for a walk, because I was restless, and just needed to be out.
I guess I caught the end of some big party because everywhere I looked, people were coupled up. And necking and turning their heads this way and that and slobbering all over each other. Some were in groups of threes and fours, men with men and women with men and women with women, just groups of writhing bodies, groaning and moaning rather loudly. Some couldn't even stand and were just draggin their bodies along the ground. All drunk or coked up or something - they did not look at all in a good state, all looked like they had partied a little too hard and too long. And smelled like it too. Evidently they couldn't fit in a shower in between all the partying.
There was a time when I would simply be happy to see people enjoying themselves, but last night I found myself thinking, I'm glad you're happy and in love or having a great sex life or whatever. Just don't flaunt it in my face.
The few who were on their own started staggering towards me when they saw me, trying to grab me, they were that drunk or drugged up. I picked up my pace and weaved my way through their outstretched arms, and they were in no state to catch up. Good thing with drunk people is, they're awfully slow. I don't know what they wanted with me, but the soulless look in their eyes under the streetlight was a little scary.
Public displays of affection and sexuality are starting to get to me more and more. I remember once out with this girl, seeing a couple groping and swapping saliva with each other openly, and her remarking in my ear, They are going to hate each other next week. I remember thinking, I hope I never become that bitter.
But I suppose I understand now. Some of us are not so lucky in love or lust, and just don't need a reminder.
It doesn't help that your friends are doing it too. My best mate Shaun called up last night when I got home from the walk, depressed and a little weirded out. It was a strange phone call actually, looking back.
"Mate, you gotta help me, I don't know what's going on, Gina's not herself..." Gina is his new girl.
"What's wrong?" He was breathing heavily on the phone like he had been running or something, and it was making it hard to hear him. His mobile didn't have good reception anyway.
"...don't know man, don't know, she just keeps... biting me..."
I don't need to hear about your sex life man, I was thinking. "Well I'm glad to hear she's, erm, enthusiastic..." I tried to chuckle, do the man talk thing.
"...no you don't understand, she came with a friend and they seemed drugged up or something and they keep..." I hear a guttural groan in the background which I just about recognise to be Gina's, although she sounded like she had a cold or something. Then a deep growl, from another woman in the room.
Lucky bastard, I thought.
"Well you're a lucky bastard aren't you, but mate, I don't need to hear this..."
"...no you don't understand, they keep...biting me, I'm getting a bit scared..."
Then I realised he was just calling to gloat. He must've thought it was really funny.
"...help me, they're coming..."
Perhaps I would've laughed and played along with him on another day, but I felt this bitterness welling up inside again. "Yeah well, enjoy your fucking self. I'm glad you're happy." And I hung up. He tried to ring again, but I took the phone off the hook.
Feeling thoroughly miserable, I went to bed and tried to escape into sleep, but sirens outside wouldn't let me. They had been going all night, I don't know what was happening, but it's a rough area. Anyway, I was too wrapped up in myself to care. I tried to cover my ears with the pillow, but the sirens were still getting through, and I just lay there in the dark.
Sometimes, when you're feeling like this, you wish the world would just end already.
I guess I was a little short with Shaun last night. He probably just thought he was being funny. Not his fault I'm miserable.
Maybe I'll go up to see him and Gina in his flat tomorrow.