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9:17 a.m. 2010-07-31

Looking for a word for...

Have you ever seen a movie? Have you seen a bunch of them? I can guess enough about the demographics of people who read blogs to have a good feel for your answer.
In a movie, you suspend disbelief, you follow along with the story, you forget that what is going on in front of you isn’t really going on, and allow yourself to be immersed in what is happening. You accept all sorts of crazy ideas, from a hot tub that travels through time to of all the gin joints in the world, this is the one that she walked into, to the fact that James Bond, despite the fact that he is a career government employee, NEVER fills out any paperwork.
But sometimes the story doesn’t quite get it right. Something in the pacing of a moment rings false, or the characters make a leap of faith that just doesn’t make sense, or the action sequences punch line just doesn’t make sense. Of course, if you think about it, the story never gets it right, because Comedy, Action, and Drama required crazy decisions and every movie is always looking for ways to inject more CAD. But sometimes they insertion of CAD is so obvious that it pokes you in the brain and makes you think “this just can’t be real.”
OK, so now you know the mental feeling that I’m talking about. It is a moment where you have your suspension of disbelief interrupted, where all the premises that you were just going along with force you to question them. It is the reach to far that occurs after the aliens reveal themselves, the protagonists discover and argue about “dude” and “sweet” tattooed on their backs, and you have accepted that anybody in the world could possible act like Jeff Goldblum.
Now, what if that moment happens in real life? What if you aren’t sitting in a movie theater or on your comfy couch? What if you are sitting at an out door bar, beer in hand and pizza on the table, and your brain goes through that “that didn’t just happen” jarring?
I went to a social gathering of diplomats, which was lots of fun. Dips generally have to be fairly agreeable people, with fairly big personalities. I’m sure an outside observer would note lots of grotesque character traits manifesting themselves, but we absolutely just let most of that slide.
But across a bar table a someone from a former USSR country said to me, in his finest Ivan Drago accent “you know, this whole democracy thing is your fault” and my brain went WHAT?!?!?? Did you…. But… wait…. Whaaaaaa?
Now, I don’t think I actually sputtered in real life. I think I played along, unshaken as a Bond Martini. But my mind was blown little bit by the “OMG, that was actually said”ness.
Is there a word for when that happens in real life?

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