Vanishing Point A Bookand Websiteby Ander Monson


About, again

Having a friend like Andrea puts you in a difficult place. And by you I mean me, obviously, but I'm trying to be less self-involved these days, partly in response to the way in which Andrea has reconfigured her world around me. As a writer, I'm somewhat self-obsessed already. I don't feel great about it, but there it is. As a nonfiction writer, even more so. As a writer with an avowed interest in I, another layer of self-interest and mythology gets painted on. So I'm trying to work against it. Thinking about Andrea and her subjectivity is one way of connecting dots, of making constellations on what was once a uniform field of points.

I mean to say that it's understandable: I get it, Andrea. All these things you claim are within the realm of possibility. For instance, because of your aunt's youthful indiscretions, I admit it's possible--even probable--that the CIA has you on a list. That your communications may have at one point been tracked, traced, noted and placed on a rack for later consulting if you trip enough automatic flags. And sure, there are assholes, some of which have taken notice of you. You've been the subject of obsessives before. I remember college. I remember Josh. That guy had a thing for you and was stalking you. That doesn't mean that everyone configures their lives around you, that they torment you in tiny ways, that their denials of your delusions are part of the plan being slowly built against you.

It's hard to watch it happen. It's hard to know how to respond. Your husband knows it happens. When I try to explain this to anyone, they wonder, well, has she seen psychologists? Obviously you have. I can't pretend to know what those conversations are like. But the one who recommended that you watch Gaslight to shed some light on the delusions really missed the mark.

(Reader, if you've seen the film, you'll understand why this is the single worst film that her psychologist could have recommended she watch.)

I know you've been seeing someone. I doubt you take the meds you've been prescribed. You've told me what they make you feel like. Dulled. In a cocoon. I've seen you on the meds. It was a sad affair. I'm not saying that these are the solution, but your misery off the meds is no better.

This is one of these situations that seems to have no possible solution. If you were a danger to yourself or others we could have you committed, but what good would that do? Would that be better than the current situation? And it's hard to know how seriously to take your conversations. It's hard to know how much of myself I can devote to your constant trimming and care, and how much that means or is worth in the long run to you or to me or to what connects us.

One thing leads to another. One accusation to another. One persecution to another. It's like being underwater. Underground. In a labyrinth. Except you can't trust your senses, much less the world you think you know. At least you have your suspicions. At least here in this relatively unmedicated place, which isn't a place at all but a consciousness, a haze, a set of electrical instructions for the brain, you can feel alive.