Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Uncanny Home.

The factor of the repetition of the same thing will perhaps not appeal to everyone as a source of uncanny feeling. From what I have observed, this phenomenon does undoubtedly, subject to certain conditions and combined with certain circumstances, arouse an uncanny feeling, which, furthermore, recalls the sense of helplessness experienced in some dream-states. As I was walking, one hot summer afternoon, through the deserted streets of a provincial town in Italy which was unknown to me, I found myself in a quarter of whose character I could not long remain in doubt. nothing but painted women were to be seen at the windows of the small houses, and I hastened to leave the narrow street at the next turning. But after having wandered about for a time without enquiring my way, I suddenly found myself back in the same street, where my presence was now beginning to excite attention. I hurried away once more, only to arrive by another detour at the same place yet a third time. Now, however, a feeling overcame me which I can only describe as uncanny, and I was glad enough to find myself back at the piazza I had left a short while before, without any further voyages of discovery. Other situations which have in common with my adventure an unintended recurrence of the same situation, but which differ radically from it in other respects, also result in the same feeling of helplessness and of uncanniness. So, for instance, when, caught in a mist perhaps, one has lost one’s way in a mountain forest, every attempt to find the marked or familiar path may bring one back again and again to one and the same spot, which one can identify by some particular landmark. Or one may wander about in a dark, strange room, looking for the door or the electric switch, and collide time after time with the same piece of furniture -- though it is true that Mark Twain succeeded by wild exaggeration in turning this latter situation into something irresistibly comic.-Freud, "The Uncanny"

I returned home for the first time since starting college over Thanksgiving my freshman year. I walked into the room I had literally lived in for 18 years (albeit through several design reincarnations) and was immediately taken with this overwhelming sense of existential dread which seemed very important at the time because I was (am?) cheesy, so I made a mental note, "Lauren, remember this! Always!" Really, it was the "I don't live here anymore" realization, which is not a big deal once one has gone through it several times, but the first time it happened I felt totes angsty. Luckily, I had been assigned Freud's "The Uncanny" for a psychology course already, so I knew what was up and I dealt with the feeling as cannily as I could.

This picture of me and Dad still makes me feel a little weird, mostly because it makes me think maybe I was a boy at birth.

I still fantasize about the amazing amount of light in this room-- it looks out onto a huge open park, with a field of flowers and a baseball diamond. Heaven is that room with an endless amount of Gossip Girl books.

I have an unhealthy image of home as the cure-all for everything. Sometimes I wish I could just go back to living in that house, which ultimately is just a wish to be small again. I usually only desire this when I'm sad, which fortunately isn't very often. My parents around this time last year were thinking about selling Legend of 1100 (my sister and I started calling the house that after we saw the Tim Roth movie "Legend of 1900" for some reason) and moving here, but I was like "no fucking way." So instead they basically spent a lot of money making the house handicap-accessible in preparation for their senior years. The thought of their senior years also gives me unheimlich emotions, so I try not to think about it often.

I'm going home this weekend for a short visit. I really feel like I need to pet some dawg, stat.

Like who in their right mind would not want to pet this dawg?

The weather is gorgeous there now, and there is a stunning overlook of the Mississippi approximately three blocks from my house that is often the subject of Minnesota postcards. This is the view to the right:

And this is the view of the St. Paul skyline, across the way to the left:


When I'm home I usually make a cup of coffee early in the morning and, mug in tow, walk Annie down to the overlook. She's always frisky and looking for small critters to kill so I often have to scold, "Annie, simmer down! I am trying to think deep thoughts here!"

In convincing my parents to shell out $200 for this weekend's plane ticket I was obnoxious. Obnoxiousness works on them: "You leave me guilt-soaked messages like every day about how you don't know what's going on in my life in New York and how I never call you and how you miss me and now when I actually want to come home you won't let me?!"

My Mom was like, "Well now that you're not dating you've been calling three times a day and we don't miss you anymore!"

My dad interjected (he's always listening on another phone in the house): "I want to talk to you! We can talk about law school-- your LSAT score is going to expire soon!"

To Mom: "Yeah, I want to come home and talk about law school with Dad, for serious this time."

Mom started to protest, but Dad talks louder, "When do you want to leave? I'll get your tickets tomorrow."

Dad is a character.

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