I was always struck by the last part of this scene in the movie Contact, where Jodie Foster’s character is traveling through a wormhole in alien technology interpreted and built by human males. Instead of just following the instructions an unknown alien civilization sent them and building her traveling pod to specifications, the human males decided they knew better. So they started adding a bunch of stuff including a captain’s chair bolted to the ceiling of the pod. The human male-built pod provides a rough ride that appears to be the fault of the aliens and her trip would have ended badly if she hadn’t abandoned the death-chair at the last moment, right before the bolts sheared off and the chair crumpled to the ceiling while she and her compass necklace free-floated effortlessly inside the pod. As usual, with their megalomaniacal tendencies and arrogant meddling, human males only succeeded in making everything worse. This message was not lost on me and I have thought about this scene in a 30 year old movie many times. I am thinking about it right now! And now, so are you.
Being chronically ill and having no car, I have only been out of my apartment 4 times since my state and town went on lockdown about 2 months ago. But I don’t really feel restricted and this is hardly a radical change from my “new normal” as a seriously, permanently and progressively ill person. As I have written about before, I am currently in a tiny rural town in a cannabis-legal state, having moved here 5 years ago in an attempt to treat the aggressive pain and symptoms of my treatment-resistant Crohn’s disease. Coming from (most recently) Long Island, New York, I have thought many times that the relative quiet and relatively slow pace of this rural community is at least as therapeutic as the cannabis. While I have managed to achieve the impossible, and something Western medicine was never able to provide — about a 50% decrease in symptoms and a 50% increase in my quality of life — medical marijuana (and relative peace) is not a panacea to a progressive, incurable and untreatable disease and in some ways, due only to the passage of time, I have, predictably, gotten worse.