Sunday, February 24, 2008

On being out of touch

I’m a mite sad to tell you that I have no idea who won what at the Oscars—but just a mite. In fact, I think they’re still on. Aren’t they? It’s 11:15 on Sunday evening, and if memory serves me, those silly awards will be handed out for some time yet. But I don’t know for certain, and I flatly refuse to turn on the television and find out. You see, this is just one more area of my life that I’ve pretty much abandoned without looking back.

I looked back for awhile, peered over my shoulder wondering what I was missing, especially when I lost books. Books were big to me for so many years—I mean, I taught English for cryin’ out loud. Books were huge. They shaped me, they entertained me, they spoke to me and were real to me. Now? Not. I just can’t care about them like I used to. Even when I get a chance to read, it’s not the same. I noticed some years back that I was losing my taste for fictional characters, and now I find that I simply have no patience with them. They’re not real. I can no longer justify the time and energy spent on these people. Only the most convincing, human characters can hold me now. I suppose that increasing demands on your time make you more selective about how you spend it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Giving up TV was no biggie—I pretty much gave it up in college, and lost nothing. But even recently, I used to at least watch the news. Now? It’s too depressing. It makes me wonder what I was thinking, bringing a little person into this world. So, I don’t watch the news anymore. I’m lucky to catch the weather in the mornings, and maybe we turn on world news once a week or so, which I then promptly forget to watch because I end up reading stories or talking to someone. I can still scan headlines online, and filter out the stupid, shallow stories, and the ones that fill me with sadness, make me feel heavy and sullen; and NPR will serve me well enough in this period of my life.

I do miss music and movies. Especially music. I used to make it a point to stay on top of new artists, and tours, and who had gone solo, and who had flopped. I used to know what young people were listening to, because I used to listen to it, too. Now, I turn on the “hip” stations and I don’t recognize a single voice. They all sound the same, young and undeveloped, like they’re trying too hard. The same way, I’m sure, that all my favorite childhood bands sounded to my parents. Now I’ve become that person who thinks the music of her youth was superior. I even heard a song from my high school years on the “oldies” station the other day. Now THAT’S a downer. That makes me want to leave the radio off.

Movies, too—once upon a time, I had a clue. I knew who was starring in the box office hits, I knew who was nominated, I’d even seen a few of the well-known titles. I read reviews, I was at least familiar with some of the odd films that were only shown in one local theater, I even knew some of the good foreign films coming down the pike. Nowadays, I don’t have any idea what’s playing. The last film I saw was at Christmas time with a girlfriend (Charlie Wilson’s War) and it was good, but I don’t want to talk about it and think about it and see it again. Before that? I can’t even tell you the last time I was in a movie theater. And rentals? Todd and I are usually catching up on things the whole world already viewed last year. Our last big hit here? The Fox and the Hound, of course. (Marcus adored it, and was only a little bit frightened by the bear at the end.)

I guess it’s all part of the bubble effect of being a stay-at-home-mom and a parent in general. I’m pretty content to leave out the bad stuff, so the news is no loss. And honestly, I’ve always been a person absolutely grounded in reality, and that aspect of my personality seems to have become even more dominant, thus eliminating the need—and desire—to fill my brain with too much mental jewelry. Every day, I care less and less that I know less and less about this stuff. Because honestly, is any of it important? It doesn’t really matter whether I know who sings that song, or who won that Oscar for which movie, or which book Oprah’s pushing and what it's about, or whether Britney remembered to put on panties last night, or whether Jen is still bitter toward Angie, or whether the Police are coming to Pittsburgh on their reunion tour… Well, okay, that one is bothering me a little. Man, I’d really like to see the Police and Elvis Costello. Sigh.

But truly, I’m feeling more peaceful every day about my cultural cluelessness. BTW, can one of you call me if something really important happens?


Anonymous said...

Okay, I get the not watching the news - it IS depressing. And you're right, once the kids arrive, time evaporates and there is very little left to spend on books and movies and music. But don't lose touch completely! At least TRY to keep abreast, just to have something to talk to people about in the grocery check out or whatever.

And YES, your penchant toward reality has gotten stronger. Myself? I LIKE spending time in fantasy land sometimes. I LIKE happy endings, handsome men saving the day, plucky girls coming out on top. That's why I make the time for the movies and books.

Yeah, a lot of what the rest of the world yammers on and on about seems ridiculous. But in the interest of maintaining contact with the rest of humanity, make the effort!

Mel said...

I try to at least remain on the fringes. And I'm sure when time permits, I'll re-immerse myself in some of these pastimes. I did read a book recently (I Am Legend, courtesy LK), I saw a movie last week that was less than 2 years old (Amazing Grace), and I do check about once a day. So, no worries, I could hold up my end of a conversation as long as it didn't go too deep, or venture into completely silly Hollywood territory. But I do fear I like aspects of being out of touch. And as you well know, I was never much for fantasy. : )

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I think you have given yourself away. You know who Jen and Angie are, you know that Brit didnt wear panties, so you are watching something.

Plus I dont get the book thing. So what DO you do?? Plus its boring when I cant talk to you about books or movies. You're too serious. :( Lighten up. :( There are STILL great books out there. Its good for you to read.

Mel said...

I write this silly blog--that takes some time! ; )

FYI, features some pretty un-newslike stories (hence jen/angie and brit awareness). they use that term "news" pretty loosely. and they're honestly not as bad as most of the other newshounds. and can anyone claim they never read the magazine headlines while in line at the grocery? I'll 'fess, I've been known to pick up junk and peruse.

I still read mindless home-dec magazines. and sometimes I paint. and remember, I'm taking that Bible study, so I'm reading some books! I think I'm pretty light. and you, anon., are not always so light either. hard to be that way all the time.