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Last weekend was the perfect one for staying indoors. I have problems with calling this brown flat ‘home’. We are renting it. So I call it ‘indoors’.


We all stayed indoors. Except my teenager, of course. But that doesn’t count. He has nothing in common with the rest of the family, he’s sure of it.

And anyway, when he is indoors, at ours, he mostly sleeps.

I can wait.

I can wait for my son to shed the troubled skin off, and come back to Mama. People say it will happen when he turns 21. And by the way, we say ‘Mama’ in our Mamatongue. And now, how convenient, there’s a horror film called ‘Mama’. One more reason for my baby teenager to prefer other mothers, moms, mums, and Mammas, instead of his horror-material, Mama.

I was forced through the trailer of ‘Mama’ (booo) while waiting for Zero Dark Thirty to begin, on the Thursday night, before the indoors weekend.

Zero Dark Thirty as a code for 0:30a.m. – how cool is that. Americans are always one step ahead in the individuality of coolness. You can’t call a war-on-terror-film ‘Half-past-midnight (darling)’. But already, in the cool-o-sphere, there existed a ‘zero dark thirty’ expression for it. Whenever I type that code, I have to pause and take a deep breath, because I feel the rush of power. Really. However short-lasting.

Anyway, the same woman from the trailer of MAMA appeared then in the film with the powerful, cool name. It’s her moment, Jessica Chastain’s – I love saying her name – and she’s nice.

I know that she is nice because, after that film night, the indoors weekend followed, and I saw her again, on TV (which was ON all the time, so sue me): she was standing and smiling wholesomely under the London sleet, dressed for London weather, in what looked like a coat, long sleeves and no cleavage or bare back, and it was a wonderful sight of normality on TV. She was smiling wholesomely and sanely, and  she was ‘looking forward to sharing the same award presentation ceremony (The Baftas) with Helen Mirren’. She then said that she had the role of her dreams-come-true, because her Maya from Zero Dark Thirty was the kind of woman defined totally by her work. I melted a bit, inside, indoors. I thought it was amazing.

I was watching TV over the kitchen counter, while massaging, for the fifth time that weekend, Bouillon powder and olive oil into the remains of an animal (not horse). I thought: a woman protagonist, so perfect and calm, called Maya, defined only by her work, no man, no children, and no kitchen; oh, how amazing; how amazing. And then I recalled Maya, the tough, persevering redhead from Zero Dark Thirty, and I remembered how she only snacked on junk food to keep herself going. Only once did she go out to a restaurant, sat down to eat and drink red wine, and that was when something or somebody exploded, she barely managed to get out of there. From then on – she had no time for slow meals, and no trust in idiotic slow meals that suck the life out of … us? (I was on her team while massaging the meat before I dropped it into hot oil.) No. Maya would just pop some crunchy bits into her mouth, or chew on some gummy elastic that could have even been cheese, have a sip from a can, and on with her work she would go. Maya. There are a lot of Mayas in my home-country, and mostly they were born in the month of May, they’re Taureanly down-to-earth and loyal, I get along with them well. I have a soft spot for the name.

And I also thought: she is the human of the future. (Because, as I said, Americans are always one step ahead.) The humans of the future will not give a flying quack whether someone is male or female. Work will define them. Those who will have been lucky enough to place their passion into their work will truly rule the world. They will all be equally ok, because they will not need much. They will be balanced: sometimes angry and sad, but fine after a short outbursts of sobbing in their own corners; they will snack on a gummy protein, sip from a can, wear practical yet tidy clothes, comfortable always, of course, because there will be no fat to press at the seams and scream to be let out. Work-fun balance will have merged because work will be fun; and balance will be everything else.

I looked at my daughter. She may be one of these humans in her twenties. Great! I don’t have to worry, then. A balanced daughter defined by her work is a mama’s dream.

But then – wait! – in her twenties! Twenties! Maya wasn’t a human of the future. Maya was just young! And she was groomed since high school. But mostly, she was young and that’s why she could snack and stay cool and all.

Somewhat disappointed that everything cool could be explained by actually just being young, I changed the TV channel, and we ate and watched a marathon of sorts of Supernanny US.

It was mesmerising, too. It was like having an auntie living with us. Respect was palpable. My son came back home and proclaimed that he loved Supernanny and had once seen her in Joe & The Juice and that was awesome, he said, because the guys that work there asked her to say ‘This is unacceptable behaviour’, and she said it, and everyone laughed.

Even my husband couldn’t take his eyes off the TV screen, and at one moment just managed to whisper from his armchair: ‘Who is this woman? I don’t like her.’

And now I want to see a film about a woman in her forties, at least, defined only by her work, who has managed not to have become a bitter, lonely bitch. Zero Dark Forty!

Bite into that, Bigelow.

sylviaplathdrawings7P.S. And I wish ‘they’ let Sylvia Plath remain defined only by her work.


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