Before The Party

Entry by: MirisB

31st October 2014
It was about this time that I got really interested in the battle going on in Kobane. We live in a strange and new time – one where it’s possible to see online a huge amount of what’s going on all over the world, and that usually means the bad things. It seems odd to me to be writing this actually – if you’re reading it obviously you know this already as you’re not living in the past… But I guess by putting it down like this I make it clear that I’m someone who’s of the generation that has lived through these changes – can remember a time when this kind of thing wasn’t possible, while being young enough to have taken it all on-board but still finds it strange and a bit surreal. It gives everyone all these choices and positions – do you watch the videos of people getting their heads cut off in the Middle East for example, which keep being posted all over the place. Personally I don’t because I don’t want it in my head (so to speak) – I don’t think there’s much to be learnt from it and having bad experiences in your head with no purpose is a pretty negative place to be. I think it’s different from looking at a road accident as you drive past – that ties in with a couple of other bits of positive electric we have going in our brains – the impulse to play detective and work something out quickly, like what exactly happened, and the desire to learn from other people’s bad experiences, along with the side-helping of satisfaction that it’s not you. Pollyanna wouldn’t like that last bit – she rejected a similar sentiment as a candidate for the Glad Game having said it wasn’t in the right spirit, but sometimes we’re just playing survival especially when we’re driving down the motorway at 100mph with the family in the car.
However, for some reason this battle for Kobane seems very real and very unreal in the way that reading a novel is. It’s going on right there, and there’s right and wrong, but it’s too far away for us to get hurt.

Now we’re coming up to 31st October – it’s as if we’ve decided to put everything into a box labelled ‘scary’ and celebrate it once a year at Halloween. I wonder what would happen if instead of small ghosts, witches, zombies, skeletons, draculae, vampires, hulks, aliens and blood, we brought together all the things we’re really frightened of: natural disasters, plane crashes, capture and torture in foreign countries, being invaded by radical Muslims, rape, our children being hurt, thunder and lightning, loved ones dying, dying alone, being alone, death. That would be a different kind of party and not a child-friendly one. As for why we continue to pile together this collection of comedic bogeymen at the end of October, it’s easy to say ‘Oh, it’s just American marketing’ and it’s easy because in part it’s true - but also it makes sense that just after the clocks go back and everything’s getting dark and cold we cock a snook at our fears by making them laughable and cause for silly celebration.
I’m someone who lives on her own with a cat, and sometimes I know things about other people that I haven’t been told, and sometimes I’m right. And I know when people are going to phone, and occasionally I know when they’re going to die, or get divorced. I think there is some real ‘magic’ that will sometime be explained by some aspect of quantum theory we’ve not discovered yet, where particles connect in ways yet unknown. But not very long ago I could easily have been accused of being a witch, sharp metal prongs forced into my mouth till I confessed to being a messenger of the devil, intent on harm. I tell you, if you read the news It’s not often women living alone with cats who go off and shoot up a school, or permanently remove a teenage girl from life, or set houses on fire with young families inside. It just isn’t, that’s all.
I don’t know what made us move away from the barbaric witch phase – it could have been the same thing that caused it – namely Christianity. Anyway, things have changed and it’s good, and I’m going to a party tonight dressed as a pumpkin. I didn’t want to be a gooseberry, and I thought it might be handy to turn into a carriage when I’ve had enough of any of the parties.