Sunday 28 June 2009

Anne Frank's Diary - and its effect.

I'm re-reading this (in a German translation from the original Dutch) which I first read some 20 years ago when I was doing an intensive German language course in Cologne. I now find it almost unbearably poignant. So very painful in a way which I don't recall experiencing first time round, though I would certainly have found it profoundly moving, not so much in what she actually writes about from day to day, but in the light of our privileged hindsight knowledge of the ensuing fate of Anne and her family. I mention this because for some time I've become increasingly aware that with advancing age I'm becoming ever more sensitive to the sufferings of others depicted either in reality through newsreels, or otherwise represented and depicted. Even within the fictionality of the cinema, some of those films which I saw decades ago with little or no emotion on my part, I now find so harrowing that I've got to turn away or switch the damn thing off. A recent example is a video I've got of the film 'Straw Dogs' which in the early 70s I had to travel 30 miles to a nearby town to see because it had been banned by my local town council (as were also 'A Clockwork Orange', 'The Devils', 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' etc. They now get shown on prime-time TV!). But I found I had to fast-forward this 'Straw Dogs' video and look away for the rape scene, even though I knew what would happen - a practice I despise when I hear of others doing it. (It shows such disrepect for the film-makers, I would argue.) Similarly, I saw 'Sophie's Choice' at the cinema when it first appeared, of course. But a few years later I bought the video - and I've not even once played it. I just dare not subject myself to those harrowing emotions again that I remember so well. God only knows why I bought the video in the first place!
So the transformation within me, while not necessarily unhealthy, certainly gives reason to ponder. Is it part of my becoming more intolerant and reactionary as I get older? No, I'm NOT advocating banning others from experiencing what I've experienced just because I don't now approve of it for myself. Been at the wrong end of those thoughts too long not to realise the tyranny that leads to. But it's all food for thought. So back to dear Anne - I don't have to finish reading it, of course, but I feel that putting my emotions through the wringer for her cause might at least help to make me into a better person while I've still got the time.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Not a good sign.

Oh dear! Just heard that my new downstairs neighbour is to be a single (former) Czech young lady with a 2 year-old child, due to move in in a couple of weeks. Why the "Oh dear"? Apparently she's been very nosey about the financial circumstances of the family moving out - things that are none of her business. It sounds like (although I may be proved quite wrong, I hope) the type of person to complain about my having the two cats when I'm not allowed to have any pets at all - though the flat-owner was aware I had at least one and said he'd "turn a blind eye to it" - but having two!!!! That could make him tell me to get rid of them. If that were to happen I don't know what I would do. They are my best friends in the world - and my only friends 'present and in the flesh'. Hoping and praying that I'm only thinking the worst and that it doesn't work out as bad as I fear.

Friday 5 June 2009

Apprehension again.

My regular concern comes round once more. Just heard this morning that my neighbours in the flat (apartment) below me are moving out in one month's time, just one year since they arrived. The previous tenant had been there for only 10 months and those prior to her lasted 18 months. The story is the usual one - the flat (on the ground floor) is just too cold - as well as being too small for a couple with a young baby. So my main worry is - what will the incoming tenant(s) think about my having two cats when I'm not really allowed to have any pets at all? All the previous neighbours have been cat-lovers or, at least, not cat-fur allergic, but I've been really lucky. Will the same luck hold out? If I had to part with my treasured twosome....... well, let's not go there. The thought is too upsetting to contemplate. Landlord is bringing someone round this afternoon to look at the to-be-vacated flat. Have to make sure there aren't any green eyes looking out the windows when he arrives. Meantime started biting my nails.