Thursday, June 8, 2017

Zoe vs. David Lynch

Scenes filled with a nameless dread. Encounters with the surreal. Disturbing violence and psychological terror. Unnerving silences. Parenting involves all those things. Which is why it has a lot in common with the oeuvre of David Lynch.

Zoe vs. Twin Peaks

I was a big Twin Peaks fan, so when I heard David Lynch and Mark Frost were going to bring it back, well, it felt like all the gum I'd ever liked was going to come back in style. 
Twin Peaks was one of the early touchstones in my relationship with The Husband. Soon after we met, we bonded over our love for Agent Dale Cooper and his love for coffee---"black as midnight on a moonless night"---not to mention pie. We loved the Log Lady and eye-patch Nadine's quest for perfectly silent drape runners. Like so many others, we wanted to know "who killed Laura Palmer?"
Everyone was obsessed with this blond beauty. We wanted to believe she was an angel; we suspected she might be the devil. Am I being too subtle? 
It's not just Twin Peaks that reminds me of Zoe. It's a lot of David Lynch's movies. I mean, have you seen Eraserhead? The whole movie was a reenactment of my brain the first year of Zoe's life, filled as it was with never-ending diaper changes and never-beginning sleep. Hallucinations. A tiny creature completely dependent on you filling you with equal parts dread, responsibility, love, and not a little repulsion. That and the main character sports the most spectacular bed head.

A) Shower B) eat or C) take a nap? Whaddaya mean "D"?

Or how about Lost Highway? If you've seen it, you probably remember the Mystery Man who approaches Bill Pullman's character at a party and tells him that he (the weird little man standing right in front of him) is currently at his house and says if you don't believe him, call him. Bill Pullman calls his own house and guess who answers. Freaks me out every time.
A little shorter and a cuter haircut and this could be Zoe appearing at my bedside at five in the morning to ask who's going to put her to bed that night. 
Did I mention how midway through Lost Highway one character switches heads with another? If that's not a metaphor for parenting, then I don't know what is.

"Hello, me? It's you."

And then there's Blue Velvet, featuring villain Frank Booth, who is, shall we say, disrespectful to a character he addresses as "Mommy." Luckily I still have both my ears, though I've been tempted to rip them off myself after Zoe's been telling me the same disjointed story three days straight about how she may or may not have a little bit but doesn't remember put up her middle finger but not on purpose and is that bad?
Mulholland Drive, and I can't believe I'm saying this, I think I understood. It's about the corruption of Hollywood and broken dreams. There's role-playing, a possible parallel universe, non-sequiturs, and nightmare visions.
Just last night Zoe was telling me a story about a monster who lived under a bed. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be her bed or someone else's, but either way, with Lynchian nonchalance, she said, "Then the monster comes out and puts his head in your mouth." She paused, then said, "Or maybe it's your head in his mouth. Anyway, that's what I call a nightmare."
"It fits the bill," I tell her, giving her a thumbs-up, a la Agent Cooper.

Sorry if I woke you from the nightmare you were having about me.

Speaking of dreams, I can't help but think the giant and the dwarf who appear to Cooper are metaphors for how the things parents say to children and vice versa are often mysterious and perhaps can only be understood twenty-five years later, and on an alternate plane of existence.
It's been twenty-five years since Twin Peaks originally aired and now it's back. Since I'm in a different place in life, I'm more willing to suspend disbelief this time around. Or maybe it's because I'm too tired to try to make sense of David Lynch and that's why his solipsistic narrative logic doesn't trouble my literal brain as much. In any case, I'm just sitting back and trying to enjoy the ride. Just like parenting Zoe. Who I'm pretty sure doesn't have, or need, an evil doppelganger.

When you've just cleaned the sink and your kid spits toothpaste in it.



Zoe: 165; Universe: 0
If you enjoyed this post, you may like Zoe vs. Karl Lagerfeld.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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