Mad Men, episode 701: Time Zones review by Bo Abeille
My dad was Don’s age when my mom left him. Without her energy, the house we grew up in became cold. It was empty, yes, like the home Don and Megan shared; the home he bought specifically for her, so youthful and opulent, but it was also physically cold. I was 19 when they separated and living 400 miles away. I only visited my dad a couple times after mom left, and each time I felt like I was in a stranger’s home instead of my family home. Don’s broken door that won’t close and keep the safe warmth of love trapped inside is a perfect metaphor for the cold that inhabits a home without love.
My parents were only separated for a couple years, but my dad fell apart. Mom moved in with another man and created a nest with him, dad stayed single, alternating between behaving as if living alone was the best decision he ever made (mom left him), and wallowing in a frightening self-pity that led to extreme weight loss, strange religious choices, and losing everything that defined him as a person.
Eventually he lost the house. The last time I visited he was already moved into an apartment nearby and I went to the house alone to retrieve a box of childhood knickknacks he had packed up. The house was destroyed. In a rage, my dad had vandalized his own home, leaving it wrecked for the bank that was taking it from him. He had built the house, felt it was his, and took out all the emotion at losing the inhabitants that warmed it on its walls.
Holes were punched in the walls; he removed every flower from the garden from its roots; he allowed my brothers and their thug friends to graffiti the walls of our bedrooms; the eviction notice was stapled to the living room wall. It was madness, and it was the coldest building I had ever been inside. That night I tried to sleep there one last time; thinking memories and a positive attitude would keep me warm, but terrible shivers overcame me, nothing would warm me but leaving. Ever since that night whenever I’m extremely sad or frightened I grow unbelievably cold, like my body remembers how it feels to be betrayed. It’s an escape hatch my mind created – extreme cold means it’s time to leave. There’s no love left to comfort me.
So I left. I left my home, I left my town, I left my dad. Seeing him in leather pants with a closely coiffed beard, pretending like everything was going to be swell hurt just as much as seeing him unkempt and ranting, pacing, explaining why everything is for the best, and detailing how and why everyone had wronged him. He was alone, and sad, and no Pete Campbell tan, Roger Sterling sex adventure, or Don Draper quiet solitude was going to convince anyone that he was anything but completely miserable, and so terribly cold.