Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Agent of Chaos

Oh, to be thirty years younger and to have been in college when The Dark Knight was released.  I'm pretty sure I could have pulled a full four years worth of college level papers out of the social and political themes interwoven between dazzling car chases and explosions.  One of the themes could have been the very fact that the villain in the film is a self professed "agent of chaos" who swoops in and shakes up the normalcy of the lives of the people of Gotham, and how that havoc is feared above all other corruption, crime and desperation that exists there.  I think I could make a compelling case that the underpinnings of that character's personality versus the "heroes" of the story is that we, as a society, fear anything out of the ordinary, even if the ordinary is not so grand.  We're a society of routine driven individuals.  We may not all see it or fully accept it, but even when we do things "spur of the moment" we're following a type of routine for us.  Think about it.  If you want to take a vacation you have to plan for it.  You don't just pick up and go.  You have to arrange to take off from work, make sure the dogs are fed and the plants are watered.  If you do something new and different every weekend, that's still a routine:  the routine of doing something different every weekend.  Betcha you're like me, however, and you also have to balance your weekend playtime with the chores and errands that you have to tend to on your days off because you can't during the work week.  I'm not denigrating it.  Not me, the woman who gets completely bent out of shape if she can't get the exact same parking space each and every time.  I just have thought about it more than some people - maybe even most - and I accept that I'm that way.  I may have fantasized about what it would be like to live in a world wiped clean by a super flu à la The Stand, but the reality is, I'd be one of those people Stephen King wrote about that, having survived the disease, died stupidly because they were just too dense to adapt to the new harsh reality of the world. Color me Dense.  And shortly thereafter: Done.  Most of us would be the same actually.  We need structure.  We need the comfort and safety that the confines of our lives bring us.  We need food in the freezer that we can pop into the microwave and have ready to eat in under four minutes.  We may not know it, but we rely on it.

Problem is that Life is an Agent of Chaos and it likes to throw wrenches into our routines.  Like when a family member passes suddenly or someone moves 1,400 miles away.  So, this is a very long way to say, if you're wondering what the ensuing week has been like since my husband pulled out of our driveway and headed back to Texas, it's been all about trying to re-establish a routine as quickly as I can.  And have that routine resemble as much as I can make it the routine I had before - just with one less key element.  (And at moments along the way have a little fun - like when my daughter and her boyfriend treated me to the historic amusement park Kennywood.)  There have been moments where I felt like I have some control and things are going to be okay.  Other times I have looked about the house - where dog toys are strung from one end to the other - and realized that control is a fragile thing.  And mine is broken.  Most of today that was the prevailing opinion. Tomorrow may be different.  But, I have to realize it'll be like that for a while.  It's only been a week.  There is some trial and error that has to happen before things settle back in completely, and I find my rhythm again.  But, I have to look at it this way:  the house is still standing, the dogs are all still okay.  And I found something to microwave in under four minutes for dinner tonight.  I'm the Man with the Plan!

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