Predictability is comforting. Mr. Howard Johnson knew this. I’ve never been an adventurous soul. Edgy for me is trying a new flavor of frozen yogurt or seeing a musical written after 1980. I never grew out of the Mr. Rogers song; I Like To Be Told. Surprise or newness can throw me into a full-blown tizzy (for reasons we can explore in another post). So when something happens, or doesn’t happen, or when I embark on something new, I can get a bit floopy.
When the news reaches a heartbreaking crescendo, I, like many others re-watch The West Wing. Imagine my giddiness when I discovered (through the miracle of Twitter) that others clung to President Bartlet’s leadership as if it was real. I’m up to Season 3 (for the third time) and it’s not all smooth sailing. Coincidentally, after recently making a change in my life I discovered there’s a channel rebroadcasting N.Y.P.D. Blue (a bizarre choice for an elixir, I know). The exquisite acting and emotionally laden storytelling draws me back when I need comfort. (I refer to these periods as “being back on the Blue.”) In what can only be called a macabre perfect storm; there were two gut wrenching partner losing episodes on both of these shows this week. I saw them coming (that’s the upside of re-watching!) and did not avert my eyes.
I clutched my dog as the gunman made his way through the courthouse. I heaved an audible sob, tears running down my face as Sylvia said; “Take care of the baby.” Watching Sipowicz move through his days as if the air was made of cut glass, brought it all back to me.. Later watching C.J. collapse after hearing the news that Simon was gunned down, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah playing over the scene, brought out a whimper and tears. I poured myself a drink and thought about what I’d just done. I had voluntarily exposed myself to two scenes that were gut wrenching and emotionally very familiar. I know with every fiber of my being the shock of sudden loss. But it is only now, almost five years on, when I can watch these things and gain comfort. I am not re-traumatized, as I once would have been. Why would I put myself through the sobbing and gut wrenching? Well, it’s like picking at a scab. It’s strangely satisfying to be past the original injury and be able to control a teeny aspect of the healing..