And Tell Him Twice

The first THR newsletter graphics of the year have finally arrived! I’m amused that there was so many similar subjects being covered. (There’s 2 — technically 3 — graphics for the movie version of Ex Machina being planned, and 2 for the new Bad Boys movie.)

And then, two variations on the same graphic, because no-one could work out which headline they wanted…

You Can’t Go Home Again

I expected to have a stronger, more visceral, response to Brexit Day than I actually did, when it happened.

Part of that underperformance came, I admit, from the fact that there were other things happening in my life that required more immediate attention at the time; another part is that my existential horror allowance was already used up paying attention to the shitshow that was the impeachment trial in the Senate. Brexit? That’s old news.

I read reports about how the day played out in the UK itself: a mix of funereal feelings from some, and apparently parties and celebrations from others. The latter, especially, felt like an overreaction considering that “Brexit Day” was really just the next step on a massive journey, and that little will actually change on a global scale in the immediate aftermath.

The immediate change had happened already, more than once. Three times, in fact: with the vote to leave Europe, and each of the two successive general elections, in 2017 and 2019, when the country (countries, plural) doubled down en masses and refused to step in to stop the madness. Full steam ahead, seemed to be the order. Man the ramparts and damn everyone and everything in our way.

Each of those days provoked a visceral reaction, a deep sadness and disbelief that it was actually happening. A hope, perpetually shrinking, that something would happen to shock some common sense into people and turn everything around before it was too late.

But January 31, the day it actually was too late…? That just kind of… happened. Perhaps it was because there was such an inevitability to it. Perhaps it seemed like the necessary, unsurprising next step into whatever this brave new world is we’re about to live in. Perhaps I was just too beaten down by everything else to do anything but watch from afar and think, sure, that seems about right. Who can tell?

I am, I think/expect/hope, going back to the UK this year, at the end of the year.  My first time there in what’ll be eight years, by that point. When I was there last time, I was continually surprised by how different everything felt. I can only imagine how much more true that’s going to be the next time I step foot on my homeland.

I Wish That We Could Start All Over

January was, I’d decided by the last day of the month, actually the final month of 2019, trying its worst to end us by any means possible. It was the only explanation for how hard the month had become that I’d accept; 2020 was to be a better year, dammit, so the only explanation for January’s weight could be that it had actually been co-opted by last year, infected for a last-minute final attack like in a horror movie. Just when you thought you were safe!

It’s not that any one thing was so terrible, per se — well, the dogs disappearing to California without either warning or goodbye, thanks to my selfish ex-wife; that was — but more a confluence of events: my being sick for so long quietly, before it erupted into proper sickness; a workload that stayed stuck at oppressive, somehow; visiting family, which isn’t terrible for any reason other than the lack of privacy and downtime it affords you. Things like that.

January didn’t try to take me down in one fell swoop, but fought a war of attrition, hacking away at me so that I was so exhausted and just plain done that I’d eagerly give in just for a moment’s peace, not that anything like that was on the menu. All of which, again, felt like 2019’s shitty playbook.

And the thing is, it wasn’t just me. I’d talk to others, send supportive messages to friends and acquaintances who were also having overly turbulent months for a multitude of reasons. January, it seemed, had it in for almost all of us. Perhaps it saw us as sacrificial lambs to get the year started with the appropriate amount of bloodletting.

The month finished with a day in which Britain left the European Union, President Trump got all-but-acquitted in his impeachment trial thanks to some spectacular cowardice on behalf of the Republican Party, and I spent literally hours editing and correcting a transcript of a 42 minute call for work. It felt as clear a sign as any that January 2020 was less a month than an emotional assassin that has been quietly taking us on without a word, trying to wear us out before a final blow.

As far as I’m concerned, the year is actually starting with February this year. We’re all getting a do-over. Let’s hope this month is kinder, as well as shorter.