Last night, I went to my Safe Place, also known as the British Film Institute to see Battleship Potemkin. Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, this sort of jaunt would not have been a rare occurrence for me. Indeed, each month, my deposable income would be spent on bettering my mind in the cinema or if I was feeling really flush, enjoying other cultural endeavours. It was my thing. It was my precious. I wasn’t even picky about what I saw, well, not the latter anyway. I had this thirst to see as much as I could within my budget and I was yet to develop my personal taste enough to have an opinion. I coulda been a contender. If I was not frequenting a cinema, and I had a free couple of hours, I would watch a film at home. It was my relaxation.
Sadly, I have have a problem. It’s a tale as old as [chemo] time. I have chemo brain. Strangely, I have had said brain, since I started chemotherapy. As a result, I have no concentration span and a questionable short term memory. I also have fatigue, nausea because I have cancer. Add all of these things up together and what you have is a valid excuse for me allowing my brain to turn to mush, with marathons of TV procedural police dramas. My television is often on, but rarely am I truly committed to the plot, my brain does not allow it and this pains me. My former self was somebody, but my chemo brain has turned me into a bum. I try to watch a film and if I am not in the zone, which is most of the time, I’ll switch off within ten minutes and start my invisible brain drawling. At times like this, I do not need to ask myself if I feel lucky, because I know I am not, punk. I feel cheated and frustrated, because I know I am capable of so much more.
So, back to last night. My tickets had been booked for a month and I was incredibly excited about exposing my brain to something that is slightly more challenging than a murder mystery that can be wrapped up in 38 minutes by people with really good teeth. A Russian silent film about the 1905 uprising, billed as one of the greatest films of all time, fitted the bill. It fed the part of my brain that spends most of its existence in a corner. Such was my enjoyment, that when I got home, I got out one of my books, just to confirm how influential the movie has been and then, I thought to myself that I really needed to see more films, learn more, broaden my horizons. I got excited. I thought of all the things I have waiting for me; the AFI Top 100, somethings known as ‘books’, cinema membership et al.
And then I remembered… Life is way harsh. My wishes and my plans are not possible. Not right now. As sleep drew in last night, I really couldn’t handle this truth. One night of stimulus reminded me that I cannot experience it as frequently as I once did. My drugs forbid it. Such enjoyment is now sporadic and has to be done with company, as extra encouragement for my brain and me. Nobody tells you about this when you get cancer. I guess, people are more worried about the life and death story arc.
Every time though, when it happens, when I get to see something for the first time, I must say, it gets me at hello. It’s a spectacle. A bittersweet spectacle, but a spectacle all the same.
Here’s hoping that this tenth month long side effect is only temporary, after all, tomorrow is another day.
I’ll be back.
Hopefully. I need a sequel.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I am going to need a bigger boat.