Once you’ve eliminated the impossible…

16 May

I’m a reasoning sort of fellow. I sit and I ponder, and I run about like a headless chicken and I ponder some more. In fact if I’m being completely honest, I have a tendency to overthink situations. Now, I don’t happen to feel that this is a bad virtue, “where fools fear to tread” and all that… you see, whilst I’m overthinking I’m considering every possible combination and scenario that occurs to me. And some that don’t. And guessing. Guessing wrong. Guessing right. And hoping. Yes, there’s a lot you can do on a hope and a prayer (well, if you don’t like praying it isn’t obligatory…).

Working people out isn’t something that comes easy to many of us. It takes time and practice, and depends on being able to pick up on the subtle things, reading between the lines, and sometimes not only asking the right questions, but listening to the responses. The things that are said, and the things that aren’t.

Have you ever watched how people interact with each other? The variations between (for example) online personas, and real life ones? Or the real life situation of a group compared with the individual. How pack mentality can completely alter the outcome of an evening or a fracas.

The demise of a long-term relationship can be a slow, arduous process, or it can be instantaneous. Its the little things that matter ultimately, those pet names that stop being uttered, the weekly game of ludo that brought you together. They are the first signs of something far more tragic and sad (you see, the demise of any relationship is  a sad thing, its a ‘tiny death’). You should always make the effort to dine together at least once a week, if not more. For those of us with busy lives it offers a rare chance to sit together and discuss the trials and tribulations of the day. To share. To glance across a table into each other’s eyes and connect. When you stop connecting the thread can be easily sliced.

Recognising the signs can be heartbreaking. It can jolt. Eventually you realise that love has gone. Truth remains.

The onset of ardour can be much the same. Its all about spotting the signs. I’ve always been useless at this myself. I blame my self-esteem issues, it means that whilst I’d love to think more positively about myself I don’t tend to, and so unless someone is very explicit I miss it completely. I’m too good at working out other possibilities, so probabilities don’t even come into it. The inevitable, inescapable, indubitable reality is sometimes resistant to recognition and acceptance too.

Me, directing back in 2003

I don’t like letting people into my life, its a great grey unknown. I take a long time to get to know people, and I think it takes them a long time to really get to know me. On occasion I’ve attempted to skip a few steps in the process and it nearly always ends badly. I recall directing a short film for my undergraduate degree, where I was alongside several close friends, some people who thought they were friends, and some total strangers. As I sat in my director’s chair one evening in a chapel in a private Catholic school near the Falls Road in Belfast that we had turned into a resting place for the deceased possessed in my abominable horror script, I finished my mug of coffee and without turning I held out my right arm, holding onto it by the handle and cried ‘Cup!’, where it was quickly taken away by my friend. It was a cheeky impromptu moment, a light-hearted gesture between friends who gave each other grief on a regular basis (oh Danny, I feel the need to apologise…. another blog perhaps).

What I learned much later was that one of the other girls working on the shoot, rather took umbrage to my cry and decided that I was a rather rude uncouth individual, who clearly didn’t think much of women and had an inflated sense of my own importance. Ah, misunderstandings. Prejudiced perceptions. But not the truth. What else could she have seen that might have made a difference to her perception? Perhaps listening more to the close cast and crew I conferred with?

It is ungentlemanly of me to quip back at this juncture, but having named no names (bearing in mind I was told of her distaste for me second-hand), I will say that she did say to me one afternoon following a casting session ‘Bless the poor… they do work hard’ (or maybe it was ‘bless the working class…’ but that doesn’t flow so well). I was shocked by the tenacity of her statement. But I realised I was not deaf, and had heard her correctly for she expounded her theory a little. Improbable though it was, she evidently was more than a little snobbish and prejudiced herself. Of course, this only made sense to me a couple of years later when the story about her views on me came to be told.

There is a perception amongst some that because I talk with a more neutralised Northern Irish accent, and went to what is often viewed as a ‘posh’ school, that I am/was (amongst other things), a ‘posh’ kid. Oh darlings, I only wish it were true. Maybe then I wouldn’t be on the breadline all the time, struggling to make ends meet. Yes, I went to a big old school, and went to university (where I seem destined to remain), but if we must bring class into it, my origins are much more humble.

Perception is everything. Reality is nothing. Look beyond what you see, and listen to the words, the intonations and the meaning. There you will find something else entirely…


One Response to “Once you’ve eliminated the impossible…”

  1. Lee Ingram August 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    Well, this is a first for me. I have never contributed to a blog before. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have known what one was and I’m still not overly sure …

    Having read most of what has come before, I would just like to say …

    That insecure oaf Mr Simpson is one of the sweetest guys I ever met. And no, I’m not just saying that because I have a vested interest. Us arty types are prone to attacks of the collywobbles on a regular basis, but you gotta be strong and unselfish and think of all the people who gain pleasure from your talents. Stay ahead of the game. And yes, I want that hug …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: