There’s a very human moment in series three of Fargo, when Sy Feltz breaks down in his wife’s arms and sobs. The reason? Bewilderment, plain and simple. The chaos that has arisen all around him has pulled the last remaining threadbare remnants of certainty’s rug from under his feet. It’s still his world, but he no longer recognises it.
I know the surreal nature of Sy’s situation only too well. In my own dark days, more than 25 years ago, I didn’t have bodies, blackmail or life threatening criminals haunting my every waking hour. But I had enough emotional disturbance going on to stretch my anchor lines to the limit. My own nadir was marked by a particularly frightening episode of disorientation. Driving to work, along an all too familiar route, I found myself, inexplicably, in a cul-de-sac I didn’t recognise. I had no recollection of making the turns that brought me there. I just arrived, confronted with half a dozen unidentifiable bungalows, seemingly bent on wrapping themselves around me, and not in a friendly way.
That was a long time ago, and my life has long since been purged of that exceptionally toxic mix of circumstances. But in recent months something has gradually dawned on me. My world, beyond family and friends, is becoming harder to recognise. My own rug of certainty has frayed under the traffic of insidious mixed messages and mischief making. The scuffmarks of racism, intolerance, pollution, political skulduggery, and outright inhumanity are indelible. It’s all out of shape. Pulled this way and that, alternately, by hope and despair.
Here is the news: the grown ups have lost the plot, and only the kids can save us. I truly believe this. I applaud the youth striking for climate action. My heart feels lighter when I see Greta Thunberg say her piece, in the same way that it did when Emma Gonzalez stuck it to the NRA and Donald Trump and called BS in the wake of the Parkland shooting.
My own grandchildren are often aghast at the way some people in society are treated. The eldest, offers a well practiced and passionate ‘thumbs down’ to those in positions of power, who have abandoned their responsibilities. The twins (aged nine) simply dismiss what I would call unjust and callous, as mean and unkind. They already know, as do many of their peers, that the world we’ve shaped for them is unacceptable. But new patterns are way beyond the design stage, the means of production is being rallied. The kids are about to weave their own rug for the future, and they have already chosen the certainties with which they wish to bind it.