Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Scully Effect

There's something very strange going on recently. Everywhere I go, I see articles of discarded baby clothing. Walking to work, a small sock dropped in a frosty puddle by the side of the road. On the floor of the bus, a lost Winnie-the-Pooh bib with bright blue strings. Roaming in the country park with E. at the weekend- one little mitten randomly perched on top of a tree stump.

Part of me thinks it may be a form of Yellow Van Syndrome. Another part of me thinks it must be a sign! A sign that one day too I will be a mother who gets home to find a baby with one sock!

But mostly I think it's just coincidence. That it's just that there are a lot of kids out there, dropping stuff.

I don't know when I stopped fully believing in fate, or the divine plan, or that things are meant to happen for a reason. I suspect it was probably around the time that I became aware, primarily through my experience with infertility blogs, that some truly heartwrenching stuff happens to good people who certainly don't deserve it. That the framework of "meant to be", as this brilliant post by Marla so eloquently discusses, can create a very problematic paradigm for the infertile.

If I start to see the lost socks in the road as some sort of symbol or hidden message, then for me, that end up meaning that other events have secret import as well. That if I can just decipher the underlying meaning of the codes played out before me, I'll somehow unlock the reason why this is happening to us. That I will get an inside glimpse into this larger plan, the pattern that fate is weaving for us. That I will be able to see where we are going, where we will end up.

Well, my present frame of mind says "bugger that." I'll drive myself nuts, and besides, I am not too comfortable with the whole idea that I can or should ascribe any larger meaning to the large doses of crap infertility dishes out to me, and to those I care about, on a seemingly daily basis.

Instead, I aspire to something, which for me is much more soothing. I seek solace in the idea that if there is a reason for what is going on, it is based on some sort measurable, scientific fact. That it's hormones, not the cosmos lining up against me. That it's biology, not the whim of a mischievous or angry God.

I call this line of reasoning the "the Scully Effect".

I am, admittedly, not an X-Files aficionado as such. But a few years back, I enjoyed watching the odd episode while I was eating dinner, or late at night when we came home from the pub. I was always bemused by Agent Scully's take on the world. I mean, weird shit was going on, all the time. And no matter how glaringly obvious it was that there something downright unearthly happening, complete with screaming, goo and alien lifeforms, Scully always has a rational explanation for it.

She would say, "Oh no, Mulder, it's just swamp gas." "Oh, no, Mulder, that person claiming to have telekinetic powers is a known schizophrenic." "Oh, Mulder, trust me, I'm a medical doctor".

Her stance kind of irritated me at times. It's like, look, you have clearly just traveled back in time. There's no denying you have just seen a man spontaneously combust. Wake up and smell the mystical. But I was also strangely reassured by how this woman could take all the strange crap thrown at her, and could process it, totally unapologetically, in a way that made sense to her.

I know that as time worn on, things did change. Apart from an improvement in the clothes department, I mean. Poor Scully, before she picked up a few sleek little navy suits, can you believe she actually went to work dressed like this? No, I can't either. But I digress.

Anyway, maybe around the time she got cancer, but miraculously went into remission (either due insertion of microchip and/or prayer), I could see Scully's rock hard adherence to science starting to waver. Then I missed almost all the later episodes. Unfortunately, I never did see how it all turned out in the end. So all you X-files experts who may be rolling their eyes and saying, "Of COURSE, Scully went from skeptic to believer- that was the WHOLE point. The truth WAS out there"- I'm making a loose analogy here, OK? I'm talking about vintage, early X-Files brand Scully.

Vintage Scully, the woman who appeared relatively unfazed by the fact that at one point, she had all her ova removed by the bad guys, to be stored in a government lab, leaving her barren. A character who was able to coolly and dispassionately keep her head when everything around her was, quite literally, melting down. Who was able to retain some reasonable dialogue with God despite her core beliefs that the world is made up of elements which can, ultimately, be explained.

I sometimes wish I could be more like that. Apart from the bad suits. And having to maintain such bouncy yet perfectly coifed hair while fleeing from swarms of bees, or similar.

I'll start by walking past the discarded flotsam of other people's babies, without a second glance.


At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is such a great post, really brilliant.

The Scully Effect, oh yeah, we've just coined a new, perfect phrase to describe how this all feels. There's no way any of this crap can be 'meant to be', the reality of that is harder for me to accept than the infertility, especially when we see the world around us -- why are those kind of people more deserving than myself? It's just bad luck, bad biology, whatever.

Whenever I go on any kind of road trip, I always see mattresses. My husband didn't believe me at first but now he does because whenever we go somewhere he points out, "Look, there's your mattress". I wonder what THAT is trying to tell me? Oh, maybe -- just relax and try harder, it will happen. Nope, I just think it means that a lot of people need to move mattresses, not sure why, but they do. We even tested this phenomenon when we were driving around the Spanish countryside and sure enough, there was a guy moving a mattress, LOL.


At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. I love Scully. I love Mulder. MMMMM, Mulder. But single articles of clothing have always freaked me out--I'm always wondering what happened to the owner. And it's probably something simple, like you said, but I can't help wondering.

Karen/Naked ovary

At 12:29 AM, Blogger Jen P said...

Brilliant post Mare!! Scully's clothes are that bad compared with early Friends episodes. I keep asking myself: Did anyone REALLY wear those waistcoasts with everything?? And then I remember...ahhh yes. They did.

Best wishes Mare!

At 2:33 AM, Blogger NSR said...

Great post. I love Scully and Mulder too. I wish I could be more like that as well.


At 12:05 PM, Blogger Toni said...

Did you know that I could actually leave my husband for David?? Yep. Got it signed on some bar napkin somewhere. :)

Love this theory. Love it!!

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Soper said...

I was, at a certain point in my life, an X-files freak. I will forgive you for your SAD, PATHETIC ANALOGY THAT OBVIOUSLY SHOWS NO UNDERSTANDING OF SCULLY'S CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

Just kidding, I thought it was great.

There actually was an article in Time magazine last month called "The God Gene." The theory is that some people have an "A" in their DNA sequence where others have a "C" (or the other way around, I forget which) on a certain portion of a certain gene, and this makes them more susceptible to belief in mystical experiences. The article argued that this belief was an evolutionary trait that convinced us to stay in groups, and to cull out people who caused trouble with the group.

Don't know if I believe that.

I do know that weird things happen. Things I am sure there is an explanation for, but that I cannot explain. Like dreams. I have prophetic dreams, which scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. I've been reading about string theory lately, and since the universe is multi-dimensional, I think ESP and things like that might be explained by our perception of time. Time is a human concept, it's how we perceive where we are and what we are doing so that we can keep our bodies alive. But when we are in a deep relaxed state, I think we might be able to perceive time differently -- tuning the radio to a different channel, even one that we believe hasn't happened yet. Because of the fold of space time, it has -- and yet it hasn't, and may never.

So there probably IS a rational explanation for the "unexplained," and signs and dreams and such are probably malarkey.

But until proven otherwise, I'm with Mulder.

At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I went from a Mulder to a Scully...definitely. I used to attribute a lot of things to the universe's divine plan or some such nonsense. It's embarrassing how many times I felt that, because I prayed for something to happen, it did. Really, who was I kidding? Just one more way I thought I had power, but really didn't. So stupid.

Great post again, Mare! Love, Heidi (lost and finding)

At 3:46 AM, Blogger DeadBug said...

I was definitely a Mulder growing up--my mother was a New Age author who believed that my sister and I had special psychic powers, and she sent us to all sorts of "professional" mystics and the like to hone our, ahem, skills. It was, needless to say, a load of undiluted hogshit, but I really, really wanted to believe. And coincidences and deja vus and the like really fed into my impressionable little spiritual cubbyhole. However, once Mother began having "telepathic" conversations with a race of invisible beings called the "Gone Yonders" who told her that our trampoline was covering one of the Earth's Eight Power Vortexes, even my gullibility was taxed. I am now an official member of the Skeptics Society.

Though being divorced from fate or a divine plan was an enormous liberation for me, I still--nearly twenty years on--have to remind myself occasionally that everything is random, and I can't will things into being. Especially a baby. Of course, it also means that I didn't somehow karmically deserve to be infertile, which I occasionally seem to forget.

At 4:17 AM, Blogger lobster girl said...

This is such a great post. It is SO hard to look around us, survey the surreal detritus of infertility, and stay calm, reasonable, and analytical. (Not to mention coiffed and pretty.) But I suppose, as you say, that's less exhausting than seeing ultimate truths in every stray sock or circle of lights in the sky.

At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, although I never watched the X-files. Ever. Growing up we had 1 t.v. (gasp!)so my brother and I had to share it. Consequently, I was forced (forced!) to watch countless hours of Star Trek. Now I despise anything sci fi... which includes my watching freaky follicles on ultrasound.

Middle Way

At 7:40 PM, Blogger Orodemniades said...

Thank you, Soper, for um, forestalling my rant on Scully's character developement. Yes. Well..

Does it make me really sad that when faced with some situations, I actually sit back and say to myself, What would Scully do?

Right, I'll get me coat...

At 6:29 PM, Blogger The Barrenness said...

I like your blog. All typed out right now.


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