It was a dark and stormy night — it really was — when I thought of going downstairs. I had just retired from the internet, and was looking for something else to do, when I saw it; the flash of light behind my blinds. I suddenly realised that it had done that earlier too, and that suddenly, it was actually quite noisy.
So I parted two of blind hangings to look. It was wild out there. Dark, wet, and then I registered a tree bending chaotically over right, while a clash of light behind it flickered and highlighted it.
I suddenly realised this was quite a storm. Suddenly it looked so curious, and beautiful, and I started to study the details. I opened the blinds fully open (something I rarely do) and just sat in front of it, bright eyed.
Water was pouring down the window like a waterfall, and when I looked up, I could see the individual flows of water, like fat individual shower streams, fall and then hit the window, transforming into a wider stream without breaks anywhere across.
I focused back out beyond the balcony again, saw the same wavering light, flashing like a burning out lightbulb, then focused back in on the balcony.
It was flooding. It was like a children’s wading pool that was never cleaned. Our balcony has always had a filthy floor, ever since we moved in. The water seemed to be steadily rising. If it was like this here in Sydney, flooding here for the second time recently, what would it be like in Queensland?
Then mum came in. She came to tell me (for no apparent reason, but not for the first time) she was going to bed. Excitedly, I asked her to take a look out of the window and see for a moment.
She sat next to me looking out the window, soon enough. “Look at the green,” was the first thing she had to say about it. It took me a moment to realise she meant the balcony’s barrier wall. It had always had moss on it before, but now it was bright green. It was quite the sight; it was almost glowing.
We sat and watched a while. We both confessed our love for storms, and we talked a little. “Tonight would be a great night for a scary movie,” mum eventually said. Vaguely, I agreed, mostly because it seemed like such an abstract thought, besides which, it was true. Mum kept bringing it up, so we talked about it. She asked me to help her pick one, in the end.
In the end, I chose Rear Window. The Hitchcock DVD was just sitting there, alone, vying for attention against the others, proclaiming that it’s considered horror (it’s actually suspense, but let’s not split hairs), too. So I picked up. And out of the three classics it contained, I chose Rear Window.
Not only was it fitting considering what we were just doing, it was the best one out of the collection that contained Psycho and The Birds.
I returned up the stairs alone, being sent up first. The staircase was dark and shadowed, and I could still see light flashing behind the blurred glass up above me as I climbed. I felt like one of those women from scary movies when she’s alone in a darkened house, in one of those old films, heading up with a candle stick.
But I didn’t have a candlestick, I had a DVD. But I loved the aura behind those clashes and flashes though, and I felt like Mrs. Muir from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, as I thought how “perfectly fascinating” it all was. I always liked Mrs. Muir for that.
It was so dark at the end of the hall where we were watching the movie that I had to feel ahead of me with my hands. It was almost pitch dark, which was surprising. It doesn’t usually get so dark. The inside of the room was little better until we established ourselves inside, set up the movie, and started to watch.
Mum was still paying attention to outside, and opened the blinds to see better the storm. No sooner had I started the film than she was playing games on her phone. She has an annoying habit of doing that. Annoying because it’s so pointless. Why do people do that?
So then, of course, Grace Kelly came on. Being the only actress I know of from that age in the movie, I was waiting for her to show up (although in the opening credits, the name of the main actor struck a chord). But also, she reminded me of the Mika song (“I tried to be like Grace Kelly/But all of my looks were too sad”).
Eventually, she said something that caught my ear: “I’d say she’s doing a woman’s hardest job: juggling wolves.” That was true — and it got me starting to think about the lives of women. I started wondering about how certain kinds of women handle themselves. I started thinking how much being shy is a disadvantage to women, and how many women are shy. A woman needs to be held capable, socially as well as mentally, and she’s got a lot to challenge her there. Especially if she has certain lifestyles like this Miss Torso.
How tough might it be to be Miss Torso? Regarding the scene laid before Lisa and Jeff during the short conversation of Miss Torso at some dinner party juggling wolves, I thought the apartment was full of cads, rather than wolves. (What’s the difference? There is none.) The particular cad she chose I thought seemed to pressure her. He had attacked her with his mouth, and she had basically folded.
A woman’s toughest job, indeed. It seemed at least one woman was failing at it. And Miss Torso was clearly not the shy type. So what does that say for the rest of us? Are we simply most weak, and are men simply cads?
Maybe, if not an absolute truth. But there is something to be said for women looking to juggle wolves; you have to be one. But not all men are. The detective struck me as one, when he visited Jeff, and lingered too long on her window. “How’s your wife?” Jeff said so loud, he sounded angry. At least he shows a figure of some decency. But could he say that if he ever happened to marry, he would absolutely not look at women like Miss Torso like he was? Either way, the detective was a cad in that scene, so clearly they weren’t uncommon.
Have men improved much since then? Hard to say, since I don’t involve myself with them too much, but the ones I know don’t tend to appear as such. Though, as a woman, I sometimes have to remember that just because they’re men, doesn’t mean they all have a hidden agenda (though I’m sure plenty do).
How much could’ve men change in fifty years or so? No, wolves are still common, and probably always will be, unless society improves.
I read recently about how in Japan, crime rates are lower due to the social concept of the insider vs the outsider. In the past, people in villages would be fully taken care of by the village, if they were at any disadvantage to do so themselves. As a member of the village, they were cared for as an insider. But the moment anyone committed a crime, they were outsiders, and didn’t receive any of the same benefits. As a matter of survival, they had to remain insiders. In addition, I read that Japanese people care more for the group over the individual.
Maybe if Rear Window had been set in Japan, Thorwood would never have killed his wife. But maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. After all, there is crime in Japan, if minimalised. And there’s something to be said for matters as extreme as Thorwood; if you’re that far deranged, would societal values really help that much? I doubt it.
Besides, don’t forget that Japan is also the home of Yakuza. If they have criminals like them running around, then they can’t have everything figured out.
And there lies the great conundrum. As ahead of us as the Japanese are, is anything ever figured out? A similar question was posed at the end of I Heart Huckabees, only in that movie, it felt more like an excuse. If you figure it out, what fun is it? No longer will there ever be that great unknown, and that tends to put a person off.
But it’s true all the same. It’s a battle of opinions; none of us are perfect, so who are any of us to say which opinion is right?