It’s Friday night, the family is away, I’m alone. In the kitchen I slowly remove the frosted bottle of vodka from the freezer. I pour a decent size shot and take a swig, the chilled liquid slowly dragging itself down my esophagus. I stand still a moment, trying to feel the first pulls of the alcohol on my mind. I pour three more shots into a glass full of ice and descend into the basement.
I had recently installed an overly large flat screen on the wall of my man cave, complete with surround sound. I need to test it out, to feel its full power. I look at my shelf of Blu-Rays, scanning through some of the greats of cinematic history: The Godfather, Fight Club, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Vertigo. None are right though, until I glance the masterpiece – Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. That is the one.
I make sure the sound it at the optimal volume, and then increase it a few notches more, I want to feel the power of Thus Spake Zarathustra. I sit down on the couch directly in front of the television. I press play.
The screen goes black for an elongated moment, then the music booms in my ears, crescendoing into its full glory as the sun moves over the earth and moon’s shadow. I can almost see the man violently slamming on the timpani drums as the music reaches its series of climaxes. It lasts only a minute and then blackness again. I take another sip from my glass.
We’re millions of years in the past now, amongst an ape colony. It’s almost a nature documentary, but engrossing. The subtle eye movements, the social structure, the yells and screams. Soon the Monolith appears, the all encompassing jet black Monolith. So simple yet so complex. At one moment a spiritual beacon, another simply an alien artifact. Its towering presence, almost a character in some sense. The sound is slightly off-putting, yet appropriate.
An insight amongst the apes, a battle, a killing. Suddenly we are in space, jumping millions of years into the future. A transition from bone, to ship, to pen. Dancing, spinning, floating. Then the station, a white modern utopia. So clean, so neat. No garbage, no grim. Only well dressed people having drinks and good conversation. A mystery though, a lie.
Then movement again, visual eye candy, a sense of descending. I realize at this point I’m not watching the movie, I’m experiencing it. It’s an experience. Does the plot even matter?
The Moon. More clean space – windows, chairs, and flags. The mystery unveiled, a room full of top men and women. Then the surface, man walking on the moon a year before it actually happened, or 32 years after it actually happened, depending on what reality you accept. The Monolith appears again, its presence still powerful. The noise, the soundscape. Figures through light. The spiritual wonder of touch and sunlight breaking over man’s beacon into the cosmos. And then…
Space and calm.
I slowly rotate the remaining liquid in my glass and down the rest of it. I feel it through my body as I sink further into the couch. I might need another drink but feel too relaxed to go upstairs to get it. I’m at one with the movie.
The music has mellowed into a trance like state. Men living their lives, their day to day lives. Exercise, food, television. But the malevolent presence, the electronic eye of Mordor – HAL 9000. The suspense builds, slowly, yet effectively. Tick-tock, tick-tock… a pernicious butler, a machine… tick-tock, tick-tock… questioning, reading lips… tick-tock, tick-tock… a murder.
Open the pod bay doors HAL.
And suddenly an explosion, and the tension is dissipated. Slowly walking, breathing, red lights, computer chips, singing…
Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do, I’m half craaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzyyy all for the love of you.
Then the slow build up to….
LIGHT, COLOR, shapes, lines, verticals, horizontals, sounds, red, blue, white, black, green, left, right, upside down, in reverse, back, forth, tan, pale, mountains, seas, rocks, lakes, voids, recesses, canyons, deserts, time, yellow, maroon, teal, purple, diamonds, octagon, squares, circle, pinpoints, streaks, lasers, gravel, shift, trip, entropy, infinite….
An old man eating dinner in a glowing room. The knife’s clink on porcelain. A stranger. A bed. Endless time bleeding into the darkened presence of the Monolith’s steely blackness.
Rebirth. Pure rebirth as fountains of flowing music pour over me. I sit engulfed in the couch as the music dissipates into nothingness. My mind is swirling with thoughts. The world, the universe, life, existence, truth. I sit for a long time thinking. Then I get up, turn the television off, and ascend back into my life.