Sunday, February 01, 2009

My Constant Is the Floor

In the previous season of Lost, the Losers learned of a mysterious ailment that plagues newcomers to Four Toe Island and time-travelers. (Possible spoiler: It seems that the former and latter may be one and the same.) It’s called simply “the sickness” and may have been the malady that did in Danielle Rousseau’s team of scientists — or at least junky funk that that prompted Rousseau to off them all. Symptoms include dizziness, double vision, blood loss from the facial holes, madness and eventual death.

For whatever reason, I had a lot of trouble buying the purported cure for the sickness: a “constant,” or a person or thing that exists in all the eras between which the sufferer may be bouncing through time. As it was explained in last season’s episode “The Constant,” if one picks something truly important and emotionally resonant, he can focus himself, think through the time changes, tell the present from the future, and prevent his brain from turning to goo. Desmond, all time-confuzzled, picks his longtime lady love, Penelope “Odyssey Allusion” Widmore, and sure enough manages to keep his time zones in the right places. Only being a novice time traveler myself, I can’t necessarily say that “constants” are bunkum, but they seemed to me like a fairly hokey antidote for what otherwise was — and, as of last Tuesday’s episode, sill is — treated like a serious medical condition.

Then I went to Ventura.

For a change of scenery, Spencer and I spent Saturday afternoon on Ventura’s main drag, which happens to be far more charming than its counterpart in the supposedly “nicer” city of Santa Barbara. I was in one of those antique stores they tend to have on every block down there, where all manner of old stuff fills every possible corner to the point that one can’t look anywhere without seeing some evidence of yesteryear being crammed into the present day. I got dizzy, presumably from sheer visual overstimulation but possibly because the high number of black-and-white photographs and ceramic ashtrays made my brain think my body had somehow entered a less binding agreement wit the fabric of time. I actually thought I was going to take a header into some glass cabinet containing a few thousand dollars in trinkets, so I stared at the floor. That’s the only think that could get me to focus. It happened again and again in other, similar stores, and the floor proved to be my savior.

The conclusion, at least based on Lost logic, is that I must care really deeply for the floor.

Points for: Several of my best stories do end with me making contact with the floor. Also, any feeling of disorientation left when I stepped outside.

Points against: In all honesty, the floor — and least along the walkway — is usually among the least-cluttered spaces in these types of stores. Also, the mere “old stuff” smell of antique stores could have contributed to the brain-scrambling effect.


  1. Anonymous6:50 AM

    Why do you think that "the sickness" is the same thing that affected Desmond? They're 2 separate phenomena.

  2. Are they though?

    I realize the one bit I forgot to mention in this post is that think the aneurysm-causing time distortion causes people to lose their marbles and turn to mush could very well be the sickness that Desmond had been injecting himself against. We still know next to nothing about the sickness, other than that it screwed up Rousseau's crew, allegedly, and that the serum used to prevent it might very well be bogus, or at least so Desmond says. And that it makes people act strangely before they kick the bucket. Couldn't a person being confused about what time period they're in make them seem like they might be delirious? Couldn't Regina from the boat have been suffering from one or the other before she committed suicide without any apparent provocation? Why couldn't the island's inherent "timelessness" be what screwed with Rousseau's crew?

  3. Anonymous3:02 PM

    hm... at first I thought you were way off, but now I'm not so sure.

  4. Really? Because this week's episode convinced me that I was wrong. I don't know what the hell happened to Danielle's crew down in that hole, but it didn't resemble what happened to poor Charlotte in the least. But I can't figure out why Danielle would have labeled her phenomenon a "sickness," since it seemed to be a direct result of going to say hi to the monster.