Viewer Obsession Advised

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As is common with Netflix making so many movies and TV shows so readily available these days, I’ve been watching a lot of the show “Bones”.  If you don’t know, the show is about a forensic anthropologist (someone who learns information by studying human remains, i.e. bones) who partners with the FBI to help solve murders.  Obviously that’s a general summary, but you get the idea.

When I say I’ve been watching a lot of “Bones”, I mean I’ve been watching a lot of episodes.  Some days I won’t watch any, but on the days that I do get a chance, I watch multiple episodes.  “Binge watching”, if you will.  I’ve even had a few dreams about the show, mostly just with the characters speaking in the scientific and matter-of-factual way that they do, nothing like I’m one of the characters or anything like that.  It’s kind of like watching an episode.

I think that the creators of Netflix had a really great idea.  If I wanted to watch a TV show before Netflix, I’d have to buy a season in order to watch a show when I wanted to, or hope that I would find all the episodes in the randomly selected TV lineup.  Now I can watch whatever I want (if it’s on Netflix) whenever I want.  I can even watch Netflix on my phone if I’m in a bind.

Now that it’s so easy to watch so much TV, I wonder if more people are spending their time in front of the TV than they were before services like Netflix.  I know that I personally spend more time watching TV episodes than I used to.  My work environment seems to enforce that mindset of mindless TV watching too.  I don’t mean that we just watch TV mindlessly at work all day; but in this “blue collar” job, a lot of people go home tired and just want to relax in front of a TV that distracts them from their day/life.

When I worked in a “white collar” environment though, more of my coworkers tended to discuss books they were reading and TV they watched.  They were more selective in what they watched.  Sometimes they would watch something just as an escape, but most of the time it seemed like my coworkers were choosing what they watched purposefully, whether it was because they wanted to educate themselves or because they wanted to be able to join in on the discussion of something at work (usually on an analytical level).

It’s interesting for me to see these two sets of work environments now that I feel like I’m more educated than most of the people I work with at my “blue collar” job.  I don’t mean to come off as mean or condescending, but when the people around me do nothing but talk about their personal drama, or read each other the text messages their ex sent them yesterday, or my boss thinks it’s confusing when I use words like “indecisive”, it dulls the brain.  My coworkers are not intellectually stimulating.

I’m sure someone out there has done a study connecting work environments to intellectual capacity or interests; I’m just basing my comments on pure observation.  Obviously the things I’m saying are not exclusive to all types of work environments, but I find it very difficult to think creatively in my “blue collar” work environment these days.  Sometimes I’ll have a creative burst now and again, as you can probably notice based on the frequency of my blog posts these days, but most days I feel brain dead when I get off of work.  It would be nice if there was a perfect work environment that ideally balanced challenging the body and mind…

Lazy Relationships

Letting someone down.  We’ve all done it.  We offer up our time and then take it back.  We help someone out and then when we could really use help, the person that promised to return the favor metaphorically (or maybe even literally) closes that door in your face.

Is it human nature to let down the people around us?   The people that need us?  It seems to be a cultural norm when it comes to friendships.  The friend that is so grateful that you listen to their problems time and again, but when you have your own problems to sort through, they have a million things to do and life is soooo crazy right now.  Or the friend that constantly says “Let’s catch up soon, I’ll text you!” and never texts you.  Or even the friend that makes the plans and then at the last second always has something life-or-death come up out of the blue.

There are probably countless times that we’ve told ourselves “Oh, that’s just who so-and-so is.  They’re always like that.”  Why though?  Is it because we let our relationships consist of this kind of behavior?  Are we just too nice and accepting sometimes?  These are all questions I’ve struggled with and I have to admit, the closer you are to the person that disappoints you, the more it hurts.  The more of yourself you invest in someone, the more open you are to getting hurt.  I’ve always been (what I believe to be) a nice person.  I’m not the most trusting immediately or even the friendliest.  But I believe every person deserves a chance until they do something to lose my trust or respect.

Are niceness and weakness synonymous today?  I think this is a difficult question to answer, but my observations and experiences have led me to believe that the nicer you are, the harder it is to rely on the people around you.  I also believe that being nice gets you a lot farther when the opposite approach would be to just piss everyone off, resulting in everyone walking away angry.

So, if you have the opportunity to do something for someone this weekend, take advantage of that opportunity.  Take advantage of these opportunities because once they’re gone you can’t get them back.  Investing isn’t just a financial term, it applies to relationships too.  Invest and then reap the rewards, friends.  If your friend asks you to move and you say you can’t because you’re busy but really were just planning on binge-watching Netflix and eating a dozen donuts, you should help your friend.  Netflix and those donuts will be there when you finish helping your friend.  (Maybe the donuts won’t be, but if you leave them out that’s on you friend).