Monday, November 07, 2022

Craving Comfort 

Ratty is here to tell you, it will be alright.

One day last week, a migraine settled its haze over me and I submitted to it. I didn't need a weighted blanket but a warm compress and time to lie still were my self-care techniques.

When I emerged from the spider hole of my head, still groggy, I craved fat, salt, and sugar or a remedy I call The Cure. I ordered a bacon cheese burger with fries and immediately purchased a packaged cupcake. I'm not sure why, but despite feeling queasy from the pain in my head, I usually feel like vomiting at the sight of fresh fruit, or gagging at the thought of a green salad, but my mouth waters for anything greasy, salty or sweet. Then, once sated, I can sink further into the couch and listen to a podcast or watch a familiar film.

On this occasion I also tried re-watching (though, more listening) to some reliably comfortable entertainment, The Lord of the Rings but it proved too complicated for my compromised mind. Instead, I turned to YouTube, where an inspired quick search returned a 1980s stop motion production of Wind in the Willows from Thames Television. My fondness for this film goes well beyond any merits or shortcomings it may have. Also, in my mind I had first seen this during a Christmas break when I was a kid of 9 or 10, but no, based on the production date, I would've been at least 15-years-old. At that age I was probably thinking more about our girls volleyball team (and their shorty shorts), and how I could get my own razor blade to deal with the darkening wisps appearing above my lip and below my chin. I'm not sure I would've shared with my classmates just how awesome I thought this slow-paced but very cute production was. I'm sure that holiday, I was more excited by new albums of our favourite bands or new hockey equipment than about super sweet animated television shows. Yet in my mind, this was one of those seminal moments of my childhood. I revelled in its detailed tiny sets of the main character's homes inside of trees or underground. I think I went about the house constantly answering people, in the voice of the character Toady, with a "Boop boop!" or singing "When the Toad Came Home." Years later, seeing Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr. Fox immediately brought me back to that charming British adaptation of a classic children's story, but clearly my nostalgic mind was confused. My fond memories of this propelled me back to childhood, even further back then when I'd actually seen the film. Why, I wondered, was my mind muddled about this?

My theory is simple. When I was 15-years-old, I saw this animated film which brought me such comfort I was transported back to a time when I felt no worries, no stress, no problems such as when I was about 10-years-old. Now my memory was formed and when I think of that film, I don't think of the actual year but the emotional memory of how the film made me feel. I assume. I have no idea. Nor do I know why such a simple movie would provide me with such a simple comfort.


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