Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Well, that went quite well

I recently watched the 2000 Pixar film Toy Story 2 again.

In one scene, the toys, intent on rescuing Woody the cowboy from the clutches of a greedy toy store owner and collector (who wants Woody to complete a set of toys to sell to a Japanese toy museum for megabucks), have to cross a very busy road, practically a racetrack full of cars and trucks, all trying to beat the traffic lights. Of course, the best way to do it is protected by a red road works cone! So each toy gets underneath one, and they move out into the road in a formation.

It's a very wide six-lane urban highway really, a long way for little toys to go, and they have to cross it in stages. But they can't see, and have to guess when it's best to move forwards and when it's best to plonk down in a line and wait for the next red traffic light, which will stop the traffic and give them a chance to press forward without getting hit. Except that they somewhat misjudge the lulls in the traffic, and end up moving across the path of all these terrifyingly huge vehicles. And all the time they can't see what's bearing down on them.

It's amazing to see the chaos they cause, because all the cars and trucks do their utmost to swerve and avoid these cones, and although the toys come within a whisker of being squashed by tyres, somehow they survive. It all ends up in a horrible mess, traffic facing in all directions and completely blocking the road. But nobody is actually hurt. And the toys themselves have seen nothing of the near-disaster they have unwittingly caused.

As they gain the other side of the road, and still 'wearing' their cones - a kind of blindfold when you think about it - one of the toys says 'Well, that went quite well!'. You just have to laugh, because you've probably (like me) curled yourself up into a tense knot in your armchair, hardly daring to look, and you need to relax!

It all now strikes me as a metaphor for many a real-life situation where one plunges in with an urgent thing to get done, no matter what it takes, but you can't foresee the consequences for everything and everybody around you. We're not so different from those toys. The last three years have been just like a long blind walk across a busy road full of traffic. I thought I was doing it underneath a protective cone of laid-down official procedure and standard medication and a network of support groups. But in reality I was exposed to haphazard and unpredictable danger which could have been the death of me. And look at the chaos in my wake!

But I survived, and so have others. On the whole, despite everything, it has all gone quite well!

There was another moment in Toy Story 2 that got to me well and truly. This was when the cowgirl Jessie, one of that set of toys coveted by the greedy collector, tells Woody how she used to be the favourite playtime companion of a little girl called Emily.

They were inseparable. Jessie felt loved and wanted and was so happy. But Emily grew up, became interested in make-up and boyfriends, and one day Jessie fell under the bed and was forgotten. Then a long time later, Emily discovered her again, and picked her up. Jessie's heart leapt with joy with the hope of being loved and played with once more. But it was a hope that was dashed. She was popped into a box, and left at a roadside charity box pickup point. And eventually she came into the hands of the greedy collector, who kept her languishing in a dark storeroom for years and years until Woody came along, when there was at last a hope of being loved as a toy again, even if it had to be behind glass in a Tokyo museum.

This has resonanances from many a real-life relationship, I'd say!

But the moment that made me cry my heart out was the point at which Emily (who was just being a girl growing up, and not really cruel and heartless) let Jessie drop under the bed and into the dust, a toy discarded. I couldn't bear it. I had to hug Ted for a long time until the grief passed away from me, and I could face the rest of the film.

Funny how some of the things you can watch reach into you and rip you apart.


  1. Mmmm...yes....er....well....I'm not sure what to say. I haven't seen Toy Story or the sequel being as I think they are aimed at children. I can understand what you are saying about the comparison to things in real life but then again, any film does that if you think about it because they are made by human beings. I do find that many things in life make me emotional or bring out emotional feelings and they can be the silliest things too as in your case with Toy Story 2 (TS too?). It must be our femininity. Well of course it is.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  2. I had locked my soul inside a series of strongly locked safes until recently released by my transition.

    now hyper sensitive to emotions compared to the past is costing a fortune in tissues...

    Human at last.

  3. @Shirley Anne:
    I don't think they are really aimed at children at all, because they touch on so many situations that adults can recognise and children don't. Although kids can enjoy these films hugely because of what the characters are, and what they get up to, the spectacle being so well done.

    I'm sure I can't be alone in finding that an apparently simple story about some toys is at times agony to watch, considering my own failure as a child.

    So they swung open? I bet it hurt to examine to contents. But it's a start.


  4. 'I don't think they are really aimed at children at all...' Of course not dear.....Ahem.....LOL

    Shirley Anne xxx

  5. Well, there is no way anyone would ever attempt to cross a busy road that way (she said, carefully putting the traffic cone back down), so that story and others like it must have been made for children. :)


  6. Films might be aimed at children but they are made by adults with whom we share many life experiences. All three Toy Story films are wonderful viewing. Being allowed to express my emotions and not having to hide the fact I may sometimes find solace in the paws of my bear, Ted, is one of the joys of not having to pretend to occupy some hard tough gender role.


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