I closed the door and began to look down the hallway, trying to outsmart the Monkees parody that my life had become. But in my case, it all made no sense. At least in the Monkees it was a segue from one part of the story to another. In my case, the chaos of life isn’t as simple as there being any actual story to it. It was so random, so completely insane, that there couldn’t be a narrative that you could chart though it. It’s just a series of experiences, with no arc to them.
It’s the repetitive, meaningless nature of it all that makes you want to crawl into a story.
Down the hallway, every door was labeled something far too obvious. “Western.” “Sci-Fi.” “Drama.” None of them fit my mood, or what I was looking for. I always feel like I have to back-solve to find the story that I want to live in, the place where I feel the most comfortable. I know that I like Repo Man, so I need to find things that also evoke that same feeling, then try and figure out what genre they are. And it’s usually a long shot, not even something that is really in the same league, but is close enough, I guess? How do you find that door? “Feels Like Repo Man but might not be really all that much like it?” Is that a door I can open?
I pop into the Sci-Fi door and just look for anything that is vaguely interesting, but I find myself retreading the same five stories that I always do, and even that path to finally saying, “Fuck it, I’ll just do Red Dwarf again,” is far too over trod, and in the end, feels a little unsatisfying.
There needs to be a genre called, “I’m between stories and I don’t really know what I want yet, but I kinda want something that I like, but not exactly like something I already like.” And I wander the hallway, door after door, looking for that label. I find, “Stories that are secretly a romance but they don’t really appear that way at first.” But I’ve spent a lot of time in that room already, and I’d rather not go back unless it’s another Green Lantern comic that I haven’t seen before, or something like that.
There’s a door marked, “Stuff labeled Strange & Weird but is really mundane and average,” which is a place I visited constantly for years. I sort of liked how simple it was. It delivered what was on the tin. No lies there.
I didn’t even bother with, “Sports Stories that are cool, we promise.” They’re almost never as good as Slapshot, and probably never will be.
There is something about the honesty of “Pornography” that is also very simple. You’re not there for the story. It’s about something else. I wish there was a room that was sort of “Reverse-Pornography.” I’m ONLY interested in the story. But really strange, odd, not exactly a story that is easy to follow, or even that has any obvious components to it. Maybe even impenetrable? Well, sometimes, anyway. I certainly do love some straightforward things, for sure, so that’s not it. But there needs to be a focus on the story, before the other qualities first.
There’s a door called, “The things we’ve all done over and over again, everyone, and we somehow have these random things to connect all of us,” and every time I try to remember that I don’t go in there much, I find that I have lived in there, for years and years on end, and that perhaps I’m still inside that room, and that this Hallway is inside of that place?
I’ve never seen a door called, “Real Life,” but I wonder if I could see it if there were one? That seems like cheating, to just sit around in real life, but with a narrative forced on it. It’s almost like cheating. You couldn’t bother to even come up with another way to present this idea? You had to frame it in the context of something that was “true” in order for it to be palatable? “True” isn’t exactly the best way to describe real life. Real life is boring, and has a repetition to it. But you can ignore all of that, and force a sort of story on top, if you cut out this, and omit that. It’s only Real Life in name, and I can only imagine why someone would even want to find that door.
But I secretly think about that a door a lot.
What sort of story would I prefer to live inside? I don’t know if I know the answer to that question, and if I did, could I explain it to you? Could I tell you about the story that I’m looking for, the narrative that really makes me excited to keep going forward, to find out how it all resolves? How can I describe this thing to you? I’m not even sure how to find it myself, let alone how to tell you what I want it to be, how I want it to turn out, where I want it to conclude before it really tickles my fancy.
The door I’m the most afraid of is, “The Stories In My Head.” I know it’s out in the hall, and occasionally I feel like I almost glimpse the sign on the door. But I always turn away at the last minute, even though I’m not even sure if I’ve actually found it. The idea of what, if anything, might be inside, and if I were to conform that thing, the actions I would then have to take to nurture it in just the right way, in order for it to live.
The knowledge of what it will reveal about me when seen by others. The embarrassment at the limitations of my own imagination and ability.
The wonder at how it can constantly lurk beneath everything else that I do, and at the same time, scare the crap out of me in so many compelling ways.
For some reason, I’m so much more comfortable in the Hall, not that I should be trying to live there. It’s probably worse than all the others combined.