Head Space

Im Thinking of Ending Things is the new Charlie Kaufman film that premiered on Netflix last Friday. In the beginning of the film a young man picks up his girlfriend, of about 7 weeks, and they proceed to his parents farmhouse for the purpose of the girlfriend meeting them. It is snowing and they are excited that winter has arrived. The couple are played by Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons…while the mom and dad are portrayed by Toni Collette and David Thewlis. Nothing in the movie is what it appears to be. The name of Jessie Buckley’s character changes several times throughout the performance as does her course of study at university. When they arrive at the home of the parents…their ages morph on several occasions when they leave the room and return. When the young couple first enter the home appears to be empty although they waved at the mother whose sillouhette was in an upstairs window. Jake, the young man, had cautioned his girlfriend, Lucy, to not expect much of ‘a spread’ as his mom had been ill. Yet, when the the parents finally appear there is suddenly a full table of food…that no one appears to eat a bite of. At one point during the mother’s. conversation with Lucy she informs her of Jake’s genius and how that after he reached a relatively young age…she was unable to talk with him because she did not understand what he was saying. Later in the evening Jake’s mom bemoans that Jake did so well with the challenges that he had to face and that he had to work so hard. She proudly noted that he won a diligence pin in school!

The increasingly bizarre family dinner contained four or five age changes of Jake’s parents and the multiple changes of Lucy’s name and the changes of her study at university. Throughout the movie were the recurrence of scenes of a high school custodian.

SPOILER ALERT: The movie is taking place in the custodians head. He is imagining different scenarios, both real and fictionalized, and then observing how they play out.

And so today is the 19th anniversary of 9/11. As I was preparing to leave my home for the university I was startled by the Today Show showing one of the twin towers blackened and smoke emanating from the upper stories. The first speculation by the newscasters was that a small plane had flown into the building. Not long thereafter a passenger jet was filmed flying into the second tower. In no time there was a report of the White House being evacuated and that another jet was on its way to strike it. A jet flew into the Pentagon. Later that day we learned that yet another jet had crashed landed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I told MJ that someone has declared war on us. I was fearful for what might happen at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale! I wondered if this was just the beginning?

Our country came together during the early days of 9/11. Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom ordered that the Star Spangled Banner be played outside Bukingham Palace. Members of Congress sang the National Anthem on the steps of Congress on September 12, 2001. President George W. Bush stood on the smoking debris of the World Trade Center and leaned on a fireman and announced that we were going to avenge the deaths that had occurred. Tears of sadness and support were in the eyes of all Americans…

We all live in our heads much of the time. After all that is where our brain is and our two windows to the world. Jake, from, Im Thinking of Ending Things, remarks to his imaginary girlfriend that, ‘all reality is tinged.’ Each of us participate in our shared space… through our own filters. For nearly 200 thousand Americans covid-19 is a disaster of unparalleled magnitude. For their countless family members and friends…people who loved them…it is a war that they will never recover from……

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