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Monday, January 24, 2022

Telecast

Episode Two Hundred Seventy Seven: Telecast.
In which we on and on and on.

1 comment:

  1. Restless sleep, lately. Hot sweats, cold chills, headaches, dry mouth, congestion. Vermont's had a bitterly cold snap, however seasonal, and I've been struggling to maintain the keel.

    I don't know anyone who isn't claiming the same: pandemic fatigue is a thing, and we are all scattered. But it's still anxiety producing.

    My restless sleep evokes apocalyptic visions: environmental collapse, and I find myself in enclaves with old apartments. I've staked a small, curious space for myself, but the nightmare is that I don't fit in and it's only a matter of time before I'm found out. This parallels my current employment situation (leaving in a month), and the uncertainty of what's to come (have no fucking clue), and my eternal feeling of being on the periphery.

    Julien Baker has been my Pandemic discovery. Her tomboyish charm hides a brutal incisiveness into the painful ruin of being human.

    This week "Repeat" (from Little Oblivions) caught my ear. It seems to start optimistically, with a shimmering, tinkling guitar gently harmonizing with a piano, but the first words, 'Ocean of Strip Malls', and the image of aided swimming across them, let us know that it's a floating feeling; we are adrift. There's a mention of drugs, there's a mention of truck stop lights. Are we lost in a seedy, transient Americana?

    And then we are chasing a form around a bed. Are we in a nightmare? But the lines "Say I miss you like a mantra/'Till I forget what it means/Doesn't matter what you tell me/I just need to hear you speak" are so terribly grounding - this is not in a dream. Maybe this is a mapping of someone's emotional state, generally. A waking nightmare.

    There's no chorus, and the nightmarish 'lost at sea' never changes. The meter of the vocals rock back and forth, and the progression of the instruments slowly spiral inward. We are in a whirlpool.

    "All my greatest fears turn out to be/the gift of prophecy/All my nightmares coming true" seals the deal. The singer, adrift in regret, sinks without agency.

    The final line, here in the Art frame four, so relatable. So the song, both in lyrics and in musical structure, evoke the lost and defenseless feeling that this winter has been handing us.

    The first three frames recount my ongoing failures at work. The HR sentiment, "What makes you so special?", their thrice-repeated response to an inquiry about my job description, a repeated plea to get some order in the operations always dismissed as a whiny attitude. The Soap Strip frame recounting the irony of how difficult it is to plan and deploy a working telephone system (beware of Citrix Webex), and the Pharm Life pills just noting a general lack of calculating precision, which, of course, should be their best attribute. (There's a embarrassing double-line in the Pharm Life frame that I neglected to clean up on post. This is going to bug me forever, and it's sweetly ironic considering the message.)

    Shitty times.

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