(spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return)
There was a scene in the most recent episode (6), where a drug dealer named Red starts karate movies. He's saying these menacing things, but he's also doing karate moves like an excited child (we're getting ice cream?! karate kick! pow!). And the scene had this added layer of unsettling to me.
Last year, I was writing in a coffee shop and a man who was obviously not right in some way tried to get my attention. I refused to look at him. I had headphones on, I was writing, it was easy to pretend that I had just not noticed. He was at a table about six feet away from me. He got up.
Then the man bowed at me and assumed a fighting stance. He started karate chopping the air. He did a kick. I looked at the barista. He was really upset. Everyone else in the coffee shop was pretending to not notice. The man said, come on. Fight. He got closer to my table. He karate chopped the air really close to me. The barista came over and said, I called the cops. The man ran out. I didn't know how to react. It was disturbing. It was funny. The barista asked me if I was okay. I said in a (please excuse this adverb, it feels appropriate) surprisingly relaxed way: I'm fine.
I texted my husband. Told him what happened. He was really upset at first. Then we both started laughing after he said, What if that guy had karate chopped you in the head?
One of the things that I hadn't quite realized until watching this current season is the effect that David Lynch has had on my writing, my work. I'm really interested in thinking about the dissonance of experiences, in thinking about the ways we do and do not accept whole truths.
A lot of Lynch's dissonance is based out of surrealism and the juxtaposition of US white suburbia/rural beliefs that where they live is the safest place on Earth. All the things that rot beneath the surface that eventually has to appear. And some of that interests me too. I grew up in a similar place where I would hear parents say how safe it was all the time. And then I could walk down the street and be called so much shit.
I was unnerved by the experience. (Big spoiler) I wasn't like unnerved and angry enough to like run down a kid. But every once in a while, even without an obvious reminder, my brain comes back to that space. I think about an older white man with sandy hair and a red beard assuming a stance like a kung fu master approaching a village filled with bad dudes. I think about him approaching my table and karate chopping the air.
I didn't stop going back to that coffee shop. The next week, I went back. Ended up at the same table.