It’s difficult to focus on a lot of things at the same time.  A lot of people do it, and a lot of people do it well, but it’s difficult.  I don’t know how they do it, but I assume it has to do with compartmentalization: a person may be working on four things at a time, but when they’re doing one of them, they shut out the others.  It’s time management, and it’s staying focused on the task at hand.  I’ve never been really good at either of those things.

There used to be a time when I could meditate.  I couldn’t focus on one thing, but I could focus on nothing, clear my head, and start back from square one.  But that’s difficult too.  It takes energy.  You have to do it before you absolutely need it, or else it’s no good, like trying to heal a party member in a game after he’s lost all his hit points.  No hit points, nothing to heal.

I’m not going to talk about what’s been going on with me for the last two months.  Some of you know the whole story because I’ve been telling it to you as it happens, and some of you know a good chunk of the story because it’s been affecting the whole family, and maybe I’ll tell that story on this blog at some point when I’ve got somewhat of a better sense of humor about it.  For the purposes of this post, the only thing you really need to know is that, running with the metaphor above, I reached zero hit points quite a while ago.

Meditation is an exercise where you block everything out, and think about nothing.  Failing that, you think about as few things as possible.  The easiest way to think about one thing is to focus on a color, possibly white.  If you can’t hold on to that on its own, you maybe move on to some free association, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  And then Zuul manifests said mascot as a giant monster attacking New York.  But the point is to have your mind be as passive as you can manage.

You need to be able to focus for that, ignore outside distractions.  If you can’t do that on your own, you remove as many distractions as possible.  Removing all distractions goes too far for me: my mind’s really good at wandering, and I’m not good at controlling it.

And that’s how I ended up in a movie theater by myself.  Just four black walls and a movie screen.  No friends to talk to, no digital distractions.  Just me, my chair, and “The Hunger Games.”

When I’m in moods like this, movies and TV shows have a tendency to trigger things they normally wouldn’t, both positive and negative.  The first time I saw “The Incredibles” was right after I’d gotten my sister and two of her friends, who were 12, 11, and 6 at the time, into a car accident, and so the airplane explosion scene with the screaming kids hit me harder than anything I can remember since the first time I saw “The Land Before Time” when I was five and cried when Little Foot was reunited with his grandparents.  On the other side of the spectrum, I started watching “House MD” after an experience that involved me being in a lot of hospitals, and anything that didn’t exactly reflect my experiences got me unreasonably upset at the very existence of the show.

But “The Hunger Games.”  I can’t remember a more bi-polar movie experience.  Some scenes got me upset because “things just don’t happen that way, and I know because I’ve been going through something similar.”  Some scenes had me feeling exactly how the filmmakers wanted me to, perhaps even moreso.  Other scenes had me giggling when I’m sure the intent was the opposite.  But to be fair, Douglas Adams, the number “eleven” said with a Scottish accent, and Westley and Buttercup’s journey through the Fire Swamp have as much to do with that last one as anything.

Oh right, and the fact that the baker is apparently named “Pita.”  Thank you, Hebrew subtitles.

It was kind of a waste of a movie.  I didn’t enjoy it as a movie, I just utilized it as therapy.  Like eating fancy ravioli when you just need some comfort food and you’d do just as well to have some macaroni and cheese.  In any other mood I probably would have enjoyed it for what it was supposed to be, aside from the first ten minutes or so which I felt were basically an awkward justification for the scenarios that played out in the rest of the movie.  But as it stands, it may as well have been macaroni and cheese.

Which, sometimes, can be just as important.

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