…people bustling…trees rustling…

Archive for June, 2017

“F is for Family”

Remember the feeling when you’re eating a giant apple; it’s a huge Red Delicious, neatly sliced into eight pieces with the pit carved out. The eight pieces, laid out in a straight line, are made into a public buffet just for you. This is the very essence of leisure. What can be more relaxing than the ability to choose from identical slices of an apple when watching a great new animated series on Netflix? Bill Burr is voicing the protagonist in his trademark angry-about-stuff tone. Everything about that character screams frustration and disappointment with life. His life is loud and chaotic. Not yours though. You are sitting on your couch, yet to shower, because its a Saturday in your life. In your life, you get to pick from identical slices of an apple.

He is funny though, so you get caught up in this new animated series and lose track of your day. Obviously, Netflix is looking out for you; it snaps you out of your binge to ask if you’re still watching. That’s when it hits you – you’re still craving an apple. You were binge-watching and binge-eating. In that moment, when Netflix snaps you out of your flow, you feel deprived. The deprivation goes beyond the drone of Bill Burr’s character. You feel deprived of your apple when the numbing stimulus of mild entertainment ceases. You notice that you’ve got used to being distracted from your apple craving, and you are filling the gap with the background noise of Burr’s blatant racism masquerading as comedy. Because you’ve suppressed your honest and sincere appreciation of a performance. You prefer voluntary laughter over turning Netflix off to shower that day.

Or, may be you haven’t suppressed anything, and the remote really is way over there. Either way, the background chatter from the show has diverted your attention away from your enjoyment of the apple. You’re too invested in the show. Remember how much better than Bill Burr you felt, because you were enjoying the perfect apple on your perfect couch on a perfect Saturday, and he wasn’t? But now, you and he aren’t that different. Ever since Netflix paused to ask if you were still watching all those minutes ago, you’ve been living the cacophonous life of that character. All the noises and voices that were coming from the TV are now just bouncing around in your head. Your craving for apples and perfection has given way to the need for the opioid doses of irrelevant stimuli.

So, just as you pick yourself up to find the remote to continue the show, you find two more slices of that once perfect Saturday-afternoon-apple, brown from oxidation, but still red and delicious from a return to consciousness.