Space, I need space!

Aardman devotees may remember the Brazilian big cat (a puma, I think) from the original “Creature Comforts” Heat Electric ads. “Space! I need space!” It finds an echo in my own soul (together with “and it goes ‘Bing!’ when it’s finished!” but that’s a topic for another day).
In any list of fundamental human needs you will see food, water, air (sometimes prefaced with the word “clean” although that seems like the height of luxury in some parts of the world), shelter, and sometimes even love. But you rarely see space. Perhaps because it’s a requirement for sanity, rather than life itself, but it certainly seems fundamental to me. I don’t play well with others. I find it difficult to inhabit someone else’s space, even when the most offensive thing they do is ask if I want a cup of tea. I find it challenging to be standing blankly in the middle of the room, wondering what I came in for, to have the owner of the house enquire pleasantly if there is anything they can help me with. I don’t know! But I don’t want to have to explain that.
I need space to be vague, blank or puzzled, without needing to explain myself. I need space to be grumpy without anxious enquiries about whether everything is alright. Yet it seems churlish to greet the enquiry “is there anything I can do for you?” with the answer “Space! You can give me space!!!” This is my own, personal neurosis, and should not be inflicted upon others.
Together with space, I need music. It has to be the right music. All music has value to someone (we could debate the merits of the compositions of George Dreyfuss that were inflicted upon us in the choir at school, but somebody must love them), but only some music is fundamental to my particular variety of sanity.
We have spent the last week watching High School Musical way too many times. My 6 year old was somehow addicted before she even saw the film, such is the power of peer suggestion. My 2 year old asks for it constantly “Can we watch a bit more high school mooosical?” (accompanied by her most winsome smile and much fluttering of the eyelashes.)
Indeed, it is a chick flick to warm my heart, and cause their father to retch. But even for me, there is a limit. I enjoyed the music, but that’s not the stuff that soothes my soul, quickens my heartbeat, makes me smile and transports me magically back to happy times. There is only so long I can survive without my own music, without going completely around the bend. Other music may lodge itself in my brain, looping continuously, as some of the songs from High School Musical have done this week, but it won’t contribute to my ongoing sanity and stability. It may even undermine it.
Under stress, which is the way I seem to spend far too many of my days at the moment, I tend to cling to anything that helps to keep my feet under me instead of flying into the air (as they did the first time Di took me riding on her trail bike – another story for another day! She was certainly surprised to see my feet in front of her eyes when she revved the bike and took off. Sorry – my digressions appear to be digressing today. This may be a symptom of music deprivation.).
My reaction to music is quite visceral. It bypasses the higher centers of my brain and interacts directly with my body. It can calm me, arouse me, and drive me crazy. It can make me dance, cry or sing – sometimes all at once. It is, somehow, a key to my subconscious, and one of the rocks upon which I balance. It is dangerous to separate me from my music. Be warned!


2 thoughts on “Space, I need space!

  1. Linda, you would not have enjoyed the meal I had last night in Chicago. It involved a waitress (just trying to be ultra friendly/helpful) interrupting me about 12 times during my short stay. I wonder if this is a result of tipping, and wanting to make sure you don’t spend more that 30 seconds in an unhappy state that they could help you with. Space is important!

    I also agree with you on the need to your own music sometimes. I also find this important. Though I must admit, noone in our house is constantly asking for High-school Moooosical!

    1. lindamciver

      That’s a very American thing, and I think you’re right that it’s probably tip-related. It drove me nuts too.
      As for High School Mooooosical – your turn will come, I have no doubt. Practice your Dr Seuss. It takes work. ;)

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