Last weekend I had the whole weekend to myself.
I will say that again for emphasis. The Whole Weekend.
It doesn’t happen often, but the forces of nature and orbits of the planets and such like all aligned so that everyone apart from me was somewhere else. The prospect was quite overwhelming, and by Saturday night I had resorted to making origami animal friends for myself, but we’ll brush over that part.
Keen to make the most of it, I set off on Saturday morning for a day of doing all the things that no one else in my family enjoys terribly much, like mooching about in book shops, and spending money in cafes. One thing I particularly like about being on my own is that you can leave places as soon as you like, so after fifteen minutes or so in a modern art gallery, when I realised I didn’t really understand what was going on, I could just leave, nodding sagely to myself, and know that no one would judge me.
I also went to see a film on my own, which is something that sounds a tad pathetic, but actually I really enjoy. I love the feeling of being on my own, but surrounded by people. I love the thought of dozens of strangers watching the exact same film, but all experiencing it in different ways.
I went to see Carnage, partly because it’s had some fantastic reviews, but mainly because it was on at 3.40pm, and tickets were cheaper before four. It was a good choice though. If you’ve not seen it, the premise is fairly simple – two couples get together to discuss an incident that has taken place between their sons, and as their meeting progresses, in real-time, the personalities they normally choose to portray fall away, and it all becomes a little messy. Quite literally at one point, when one of the characters vomits rather violently over a collection of rare art books.
I enjoyed the film, and it really got me thinking about the difference between who we are and who we want other people to believe we are. Why do we do it? Why do we present these fronts, these characters? Is it just because we want people to like us, to approve of us, and if so, how is someone’s approval going to validate us if it’s based on a portrayal of a person that isn’t really us?
I loved the use of mirrors in Carnage too. Every so often you’d see a conversation or scene reflected in a mirror, rather than directly, and this was incredibly powerful. How do our personalities chang when we’re reflected in others? How do the dynamics of a group alter its individual members?
All fascinating stuff.
After the film I went home for a lovely, relaxing evening. I find you can really be yourself amongst paper animal friends.