Last week was the kind of week where my brain decided to switch off and go to sleep. I worked crazy hours, came home, dropped everything on the floor, and crept into bed. It was a miracle I left my flat every day having had a shower. I very rarely realise the toll it takes on me to live a week like this; at work, I joke, walk around with a spring in my step and smile. By the time I crash at the end of the week, I need a day of no activity.
I feel guilty every time this happens – I spent the whole day in bed watching a TV series. Today I told a friend about that day, and she said: “that’s what I like about you: that you are so proactive, but that you also have days when you shut down”. I guess I haven’t found my happy medium yet, and at the moment I work very hard, tiring myself out, at all hours, and the trade-off is that a few times a month I have to shut myself off like a hermit to recuperate.
So I watched Freaks and Geeks. I had always wanted to watch that series. The whole series is on Youtube and is hilarious. I loved all the characters, their flaws, their motives, their thought-processes. I loved the soundtrack. I loved the humour, the geekiness and the freakiness.
But I caught myself looking at how they were consuming. At times, I would pick up on their bottled drinks, their packaged food… and then focus back on the narrative.
I strongly believe in culture’s socialising force (especially cinema) – the idea that we take our cues from the movies we consume and learn from them. We analyse the characters’ body language, their attitudes to the opposite gender, their reaction to bad news etc and embed those behaviours in our own. I remember when I began reading up on feminism I would watch a film and sometimes red flags would start waving in my brain (“so he’s saying her worth only lies in her physical appearance??”). I would be extracting myself from the storyline momentarily in order to privately process the implied messages within movies or series.
In a way, it’s such a shame this happens. I wish I could go back to a time when I would watch a film and enjoy it for what it was – a story. Now, I can’t help but split my consciousness in two, watch a movie with one part, and let the other part sleep until it hears something it doesn’t like (“Hey, what was that? Huh? No way. I’m going to store this for later and be really angry about this”).
Anyway, this was probably my favourite scene in the whole series. I love Bill. But notice the individually wrapped cheese slices? The packaged bread and mustard? I kinda wish I didn’t.
Plus, this was filmed over 15 years ago. Me noticing these things isn’t going to change the world. But could we have a movie where there is a zero-waster character? What would that mean? How would that change people’s perceptions of this lifestyle? Of their own?