Tuesday, October 8, 2013

On Gravity

For the past week or so my friends and follows and various other social media connections have been telling me and everyone they know that they should go seen the new flick Gravity. and to see it in 3D. IMAX if possible. They say it's incredible. That the attention to detail is remarkable. That it captures the sound of space (silence) perfectly. That it's a visual spectacle. That it has 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, for crying out loud. And so on, rhapsodizing till the cows come home.


quick sidebar relating to cows, and then I'll get back to Gravity. The other day I went for a drive in the country and drove past a field full of cattle. They were a group of fine, normal-looking kine, except for one. The one was weirdly fat. Like, it wasn't a cow that you would look at and say, "Whoa that's a big cow. He'll be some good eats some day," but rather a cow that you would look at and say, "Wait, that's not a cow shape. Why is it so wide? and squatty?" I'm probably exaggerating the weird of this cow because it wasn't one of those things where you stop the car and take a picture because THERE'S THIS WEIRD LOOKING COW!, but it was just weird enough that as I drove past I thought to myself, "Huh, something isn't quite right there. That cow is a weird shape," and I've been thinking about it off and on ever since.

Well, that was a propos of nothing. Back to Gravity.

Like I said, apparently it's the film to see if you want to be hip to the jive when it comes to movies these days. I won't be seeing it.

When I was a little kid I loved space. It fascinated me. It filled my little soul with wonder. I would go outside at night, lie in the grass, look up into the sky and soak it all in. It was just so enormous. So beautifully mysterious. I would look at the moon and struggle to fathom how incredible it was that man had walked on it. I mean the moon! To this day there is little that soothes my soul quite as much as looking up in perfect silence at the stars. That said, my relationship with space was complicated. There was a sinister dark side to my fascination with space, and it came in the form of a recurring nightmare.

In the nightmare I'm in space. That's it. The details of how I got there or what I'm doing there are never clear, except for an overwhelming anxiety connected with being there. I'm usually floating motionless in space without a suit of any kind. Naturally, such a condition should mean that I'm dead, except I'm not. I'm alive. Alive, but with one condition. I can't move. At all. If I move, I die. I can't breathe. I can't twitch in the slightest. Even feeling my heart beat is cause for alarm because the tremor of my chest might be too much movement. Which only makes my heart beat all the harder. I am just the slightest movement away from having the breath sucked out of my lungs and ceasing to exist entirely. The fear and panic rise until I can't take it. But I can't do anything about it so I just stay still while waves of hysteria wash over me. And in the throes of that horror, I wake up. But the horror would be so real that even awake I couldn't move. My heart would pound, but I'd lie on the bed as motionless as I possibly could. I couldn't cry out for consolation, or get out of bed and go tell my parents I'd had a bad dream, because if I move, I die. All the muscles in my body would be clenched to keep them from moving involuntarily. And I would just lie in bed basking in the panic of my nightmare until my pinky twitched, or until I blinked. And when the air wasn't ripped violently from my chest and I didn't die when I breathed, I would start to relax and usually tremble slightly as I fell back asleep.

It's been a long time since I've had that nightmare, but to this day when I think about it, my heart quickens a little and I feel very uneasy. To tell you the truth, I hadn't even thought about that nightmare for years, until earlier this summer when I was at the movies, and one of the previews was for Gravity. That preview brought back all my old fears from my nightmare. In fact, watching the preview was like watching the prequel I'd never seen, or at least remembered, to my nightmare. It was awful. I'm not going to post the trailer here or link to it, because I really don't want to see it again. And if that's the reaction I had to just the trailer, how much worse would it be to actually see the movie? I don't know. And I don't wanna.

I think at some level we probably all have that primal fear of space, which is why this movie was made in the first place. Without such a fear, the whole premise would fall flat. But that's not a fear that I want to indulge in for fear of rekindling it in any of its old glory, if you can call it that. No, I'd rather just sit back at home and watch Danny Kaye's antics in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty again. No nightmares there.


  1. on a lighter (pun) note, when I think of gravity, i just think of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIn_EvuNEh4

    1. honestly, that's my first connection to gravity as well. I played with the idea of linking to that song somewhere in this post, but it didn't have the right feel so I ended up not.