Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Do you go to a lot of PLAYS?"

Quite a number of years ago, I attended a professional conference. In a rare attempt to behave like a social person, I signed up for an optional activity to be go with a group to a museum and then out to dinner. At dinner, I mentioned in the course of conversation that I didn't own a television. One of me dinner companions was surprised, and said that I must go to movies then. I said no, that I hadn't been to a movie in several years. With growing astonishment, she looked at me and asked, "Do you go to a lot of PLAYS?" She seemed unable to conceive of entertainment in a form other than one playing out in front of her.

Still, I have to admit, I'm pretty unusual in our culture. I've seen three movies since moving here 15 years ago, and one of those was a documentary. I do own a television now, but not only do I rarely watch movies on it, there are weeks when I don't turn it on. (I do watch some television, mostly Food Network, with a friend.) And, no, I don't go to a lot of plays.

Part of my lack of TV/movie watching is a matter of habit. I watched my share of TV as a kid, but limited myself as a teen so that my parents didn't do the limiting for me. I didn't own a TV for several years after leaving home, and just got out of the habit. I've never gone to a LOT of news, but if you don't watch TV you don't really get much movie info without seeking it out.

Another big reason I don't go to a lot of movies or watch typical television shows is that I tend to get bored pretty easily. When I get bored in a movie theater, I often feel almost physically trapped - this is not a pleasant feeling. Plus, I have a strong aversion to almost any display of violence.

But here's the big thing: I have a pronounced dislike for becoming emotionally involved in a movie or program. And I do become involved, quite easily. Even when I was a kid, watching shows like "Leave it to Beaver", I would become quite uncomfortable when Beaver got in trouble or when his parents had there "talks" with him. Sure, I've seen movies where I came out feeling exhilarated after all the discomfort (the 'Breakfast Club' is an example), but the ride is just so unpleasant I prefer not to take it at all.

Strange but true.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


A nocturne ... is usually a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of, the night. (Wikipedia)

It is late evening. I'm lying in bed, on my stomach, perhaps with a pillow under my chest. I may be on my laptop, in order to read, to tweet, to blog, or to play a silly game. Or I may be reading a book, though not as often anymore, or I may be working on a crossword puzzle.

I may have a radio on or - rarely - the television is providing background noise. Usually, though, the only sounds are the hum of the laptop, what few neighbor noises come through the concrete apartment walls, and the noise from the highway and the rail yard nearby. Because I live atop a bluff and have a west-facing exposure, there is usually wind. All this is not silence, but it's close, and my brain easily filters it out and passes on a sense of silence.

Being here in this place, enjoying the quiet and the soft lighting, is often the most enjoyable time of the day. No one expects much from me. The phone's unlikely to ring. E-mails that contain obligations do not come at this time of night. I am at peace, more or less, and I feel a sense of security that often eludes me at other times.

It's a struggle for me to turn out the lights, to willingly bring a close to this time of peace. If I've got work the next day, I am usually able to choose sleep at a reasonable time. If not, or if my heart or mind are burdened, I may extend my evening activities much longer than I healthily should. If I become drowsy, I keep going until I am simply longer able to do so.

For as far back as I can remember, such have been my nights. It's not a problem with sleeping, although I sometimes have that as well: it's a problem with choosing to sleep.

I see headlines from diabetes news sources suggesting that insufficient sleep may play an important role in the development of Type 2 diabetes. I know that frequent fatigue eats away at the energy available for exercise and other healthy activities.

But, late at night, none of that seems to matter very much. And so, as it always has, my nocturne plays on.
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T Minus Two by Bob Pedersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.