Regular readers of this blog ought to be familiar with ‘Mrs. Neutron’ – the online moniker belonging to a fellow blogger (Mrs. Neutron’s Garage) who was a frequent visitor and commenter on this site.
It was a strange but happy coincidence that we stumbled upon one another’s online writing. Our common interests included mostly taboo topics such as death, absurdity, and cultural criticism. We shared in a fondness for all things Schumaker, and a mutual appreciation of the many works of Otto Rank and Ernest Becker.
I enjoyed regular visits to Mrs. Neutron’s Garage, and the particular style of writing what was full of wit and at times crass humor. Mrs. Neutron had a way of pointing out, at times painfully, the absurdity of human life. He could be indignant and critical, but generally avoided outright condescension; indeed, he was never above making fun of himself, and frequently did so. Mrs. N. reminded us of our frailty by drawing attention to his own – in ways that could make the reader laugh and blush.
Mrs. N. provided us with a mirror, in which we could catch a glimpse of ourselves as we actually are. At the heart of this writing was a man who had a painful awareness of his existential predicament, and by extension, that of his fellow human being. And in this I saw a fellow traveller – in our cross communications we developed a bit of a bond.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…’ ” – C.S. Lewis
Based on my interactions with him, I would guess Mrs. N. was in the flesh an intelligent, lively, and at times offensive man – challenging the everyday sensibilities held by the average person. Still, I image that he was a good man, and he clearly enjoyed the company of his wife, his cat Itzie, and his friends. Though he frequently expressed his embarrassment by the behaviors of his fellow man, he wanted the world to be a better place and was willing to fight for that change. ‘Mrs. N.’ seemed a rebel in every sense of the word… fighting against the existential dilemma without giving way to it.
I was sad to hear that he had died last November.
His last post, titled ‘Safe Asleep’ was perhaps foreshadowing something to come:
“… Some nights, after I turn out the lights, I picture myself cocooned in some vehicle, sailing out alone in the vastness of uncharted space. It’s warm, I’m snug, and I’m speeding on my way to where I know not. Itzie is sleeping on my chest. I’m like Sigourney Weaver in ALIEN, after she has jettisoned herself, in the escape pod of The Nostromo. Except I’m not dressed in panties and an undershirt, and no hideous space creature has been chasing me.
Or, maybe it has, and that is what all this is really about. A seasonal rehearsal of an escape, from a long standing situation, that can only end badly. A little death. Not as anything permanent, but, rather a way to get more comfortable with the whole idea of endings, and being done with seasons when it is obvious they are done with you.
The monsters are always out there. It’s wise to have some sort of escape craft. Mrs. N. doesn’t worry because she knows that her and Itzie the Cat will wake up after traveling miles from here, tomorrow morning. It’s funny how some things that start off as a real pain in the ass can end up being quite enjoyable. Quite enjoyable indeed.” – Mrs. Neutron, Safe Asleep.
It might be tempting to wonder if Mrs. N. was anticipating his death – one that came shortly after this writing. But I think that would be incorrect… he always knew it to be there – not in the abstract sense of knowing, but the ‘in your body’ living with it kind of knowing. In that sense Mrs. N. was not lacking in courage, and I think this allowed him to love life in a way that many people would envy.
Though I never met him, I am sad that I never got the chance; he will be sorely missed.