- just realized ... - 24 -
| ataraxia |
The old woman had been pissed off with her landlord for too many summers.
Every year for decades she had returned to this modest cottage in the country, to enjoy the solitude, the peace and quiet of the nature, and the fresh air. Each year, for several months, she lived side by side with a landlord in a secluded site, but in separate buildings, having almost no connection with each other.
They both liked to be by themselves. A random polite hello was enough for both. But each time she decided to try something new in her yard - plant a plant, move a stool, cut the apple tree, change the curtains, decorate the windows, or, for heaven's sake - even wash them ! - that landlord acted immediately against her, like he was to maintain the delicate balance in that place at any cost - and he went and somehow fucked all she had done.
It was amazing.
At first, she could not believe it was deliberate.
She felt it had something to do with his willingness to live there alone the whole year-round, secluded and alone without ever having a family or any company there to bother him. Maybe he had just become a little dork. She understood - she was not a piece of cake herself, either.
Or maybe she threatened severely that well-established manly place with her rough feminine touch, and spoiled the delicate and fragile testosterone atmosphere.
But as it repeated with any kind of acts she took, she thought that maybe the landlord was feeling guilty about not at all maintaining the cottage himself as he should have. All the improvements she did just reminded the landlord about his own negligence, so he tryed to crush them immediately.
Or maybe he was just an overly competing personality ?
Or maybe he could not handle too well someone trying to be better than him?
But how could someone be that stupid to discourage all the free and freewillingly done decorative or otherwise enhancing environmental efforts from a steadily and firmly paying tranquil tenant, who kept quiet, never asked for help or caused any interference otherwise, and was just trying to make herself more comfortable, and enjoy her stay there more ? Landlord's resistance to any changes she made was incomprehensible to her.
So of course, especially years ago as they had been younger, she thought it had something to do with sexuality. It must have had something to do with fucks, or missing fucks, she was thinking then at times, his or hers missing fucks, or maybe both, because of not ever having fucked each other all these months all these years there together. Maybe they should have ? Then again, would it have helped any, she was thinking - probably not at all, probably it would have only made all more problematic, with authority and hierarchy issues confused. Not to mention how awkward it would have been afterwards, if one of them fell for that thing people called love. It could have even ment giving up that whole place altogether and never coming back. No, it was better that they had never fucked.
After a few decades she then came to a conclusion, that the landlord was just another control freak. He had had that place for so many years, that he concidered each change on the property a violation against him, and all, how ever little issues like changing the door mat, would have had to be applied and accepted by him first. How ever little. Like putting up a rain gauge. Or that new bright red post box she bought. The explanation must have been that. To the landlord all spontaneous activity by her was an undesirable sign of losing the reigning power balance on that site. So all her acts were annoying and pompous to him, including unprompted and self-imposed acts to better anything, even if they were enhancements to the landlord's property value.
So years went by, and after these fine tunings eventually everything stayed as it had always been. As they both aged, she kept following all these contra-acts to her acts, and started to write them down, with checking time from the clock to find out how long it took this time from him to scan and destroy her achievements. Sometimes she even became more amused than pissed off.
Then one fine summer day she suddenly begun to see the situation from a new angle.
It had always been a mismatch issue.
Not her being a mismatch to this place, or them a mismatch to each other as the tenant and the landlord, no - this was truely a case of aesthetical cognitive dissonance.
The landlord did not even see her cottage.
It was not there.
He had let it totally to her.
He had not made any investments or repairs to the building for decades. He did not at all engage himself in it. It merely did not exist to him. He walked by it several times each day, but it was not there.
The old lady knew of the MMN Theory - Mismatch negativity, which was invented by some Finnish scientists in the 70's. She also remembered seeing something about the funny test with the audience in the basketball match, when someone in a gorilla suit walked through to whole floor in the basketball game, perhaps even jumping some up and down with the players, and nobody saw this, nobody, or remembered seeing a gorilla there, because a gorilla did not belong there - everybody was watching the game, for heaven's sake.
Now this came to her mind, thinking about this situation they had in that summer place with the landlord, thinking about the landlord's seemingly selective vision and getting annoyed with anything she did there to disturb the maintaining situation and their years of status quo, this must have been a case of MMN in the real life, this must have, the old woman was now thinking.
But then again, why had that landlord begun to perceive his daily reality like this in the first place ? What had happened in that house to make him so reluctant to even notice it anymore ? Why did he want to keep it invisible and out of his daily perception ? Why ...
Then the truth suddenly hit her.
It was not the landlord, that was troubled with this issue.
It was her.
How stupid she had been all these years ! She had come here to think about this issue one summer after another - and payed for it too. How stupid is this !
Some things in life are too complicated to keep in mind all the time, and some issues are best to just throw away from one's brain when solved. The landlord had achieved this peaceful state in his life.
In one giant moment of pure genius the lady understood how for decades and decades she had been too bothered with this same old question, all summers only pondering this behaviour, instead of just letting it go, and start doing what she came to do there - enjoying her long idle summer days in that modest little cottage, staying there with the fresh air, in her solitude, in her peace and quiet of the nature.
about Mismatch Negativity
The auditory MMN was discovered in 1978 by Risto Näätänen, A. W. K. Gaillard, and S. Mäntysalo
at the Institute for Perception, TNO in The Netherlands :
Näätänen R, Gaillard AW, Mäntysalo S (July 1978).
"Early selective-attention effect on evoked potential reinterpreted".
Acta Psychol (Amst) 42 (4): 313–29. doi:10.1016/0001-6918(78)90006-9
The first report of a visual MMN was in 1990 by Rainer Cammer. For a history of the development of the visual MMN :
Pazo-Alvarez, P., Cadaveira, F., & Amenedo, E. (2003).
MMN in the visual modality: A review. Biological Psychology, 63, 199-236.
- just realized ... - 24 -
was originally written by 2016 Tiina Hölli 20.06.2016 19:40
and published in Tiina Hölli's blog : Writer in www.tiinaholli.weebly.com
Tiina Hölli [ Holli ]
Finnish contemporary visual artist, curator and writer
lives and works mainly in Finland and Istanbul, Turkey.