Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thinking and Driving

[Update: I found the answer to my question at MetaFilter...]

Nim's Island: OK, the metaphor of an island is like, duh, totally blatant, but the point FOR ME TODAY is that for years and years now (yes, I'm that old) the part of my brain that would anaylize a mainstream media movie - you know, one that is released into your local theater, one that is intended for the masses to flock to (as opposed to something on the Sundance channel or IFC, which we don't get anymore since MOH - My Other Half - quit his job and we just don't have the money...sigh) - I just don't think about them beyond whether I liked the storyline and whether I liked the actors' performances. I keep it simple. Mentally, that is. I view. I walk away. I replay, perhaps, the pretty pictures. That's about it.

So I'm driving home from work yesterday, and suddenly Nim's Island pops into my brain because of this whole blog-wanna-be-a-lawyer thing and why I'm so motivated, sort of. And I realize, part of what's going on here, is that I see the sense of community that exists among the lawyers here. And of course, I am seeing this community because I've been hanging around my-local-shero (henceforth MLS). Helping on her campaign. Watching her interact. Seeing ALL THE PEOPLE. And I am aware of my desire to reach out, to belong, to be included. And BING! the whole Nim's Island thing jumps into my brain. And so I'm all impressed with the fact that it's the WRITER who lives on an island, an island of isolation. Yeah, I know. DUH. So I'm both impressed with the fact that this is where my brain goes in the middle of the evening commute, for no good reason, so I'm kinda proud of my brain for that. And of course, instantly embarrassed that this is some kind of intellectual revelation to me, what, like a year or more after seeing the film? So I'm smart and not-so-quick, both, in the very same instant. And aware that it's my own feelings of isolation that even gave the come-hither signal to this revelatory Nim's Island analysis. All of this while driving home. I'm typically thinking of what to buy for dinner, and how to pay for it.

You know which emotion wins out, a day later? There's a close competition between feeling embarrassed and feeling impressed. Two things embarrass me about this. One: that I didn't consciously consider this who's-on-an-island-really metaphor immediately upon watching the film. Two: it's embarrassing that I'm proud that my brain spontaneously did this while driving home from work. And really only one thing impresses me: that my brain spontaneously did this while driving home from work.

So, you'd think embarrassment would be the prevailing sentiment? Nah. It's right there at the top, but really, mostly, the evidence that I am not completely brain-dead is so compelling, so necessary to my sense of worth right now, that pride wins. It's not pride per se, so much as a pleasurable acknowledgement that, again, I'm not completely brain-dead. Which is important when you're thinking of studying for the LSAT.

A decade ago I wouldn't have been concerned about this. Am I the only one who is clutching at any evidence of neuron activity? Is there anyone else out there who is thinking of a second career, who is wondering if they are too old mentally to hack it?

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