This past winter break, I pretty much just watched television and it was glorious.
It had been about two years since I had a complete month off. There were periods in between each destination in which I was resting, sure, but a lot of that particular time I was gearing up for the next step, the next hop, the next task. This time, though, I just relaxed.
I listen to Local Natives’ “Breakers” to think about that kind of thing a lot – my constant motion, constant thinking. I have that tendency to always move, rotate, run. It is easy for me to run myself thin. I like to do everything, but the problem occurs when I try to do everything-and-a-half. That’s why the act of running itself has sprung up in my exercise routine. If my mind can’t do it all, maybe my legs will help.
Fortunately, I was able to be lazy this break (with some bouts of productivity of looking into job prospects and activities that I wanted to dip into before the SU exodus began). With this laziness, I didn’t work on creative projects, I didn’t read many books (despite the fact that I do still want to finish these projects and novels). I allowed myself to fall into my natural state of being the self-proclaimed television aficionado; specifically, I worked (oh yes, worked oh-so-hard) to find the best British shows that were available for me to indulge in.
I also was wanting to go back to the root of what I liked. British shows, classic rock, drawing. I had branched out so much that I wanted to remember where it had all started.
I had the help of my fellow British-television-fan compatriots (and I always love to find fellow British television lovers at any point in time) to guide me to the best. Instead of finishing Peep Show (which I still need to do), I found myself drawn to the suggestions for various dramas. Luther was the one that I focused on – with the blend of amazing acting, writing, soundtrack and location spotting (there were many moments in which I thought, “Hey! I was on that bridge!”), I fell into a rhythm of, yes, binge-watching.
But before I delved into Luther, I treated myself to the best new sci-fi anthology series that just premiered its Christmas special: Black Mirror. I had watched the second episode with a fellow sci-fi friend a few months before – for fans, you know it as “Fifteen Million Merits.” Haunting, harrowing and compelling (all of the film bloggers’ beloved buzzwords), the episode shook me. I didn’t pursue the other episodes at the time because I was thinking of a variety of other things and because it really cut through me. I am such a proponent of technology and progress and here was a scathing, yet loving, view on what technology could do to us. Was I, along with other tech idealists, a propellant of this catastrophic shift?
I got over this show-watching hesitation when I watched the rest of the episodes the latter weeks of December. They were difficult to digest and often times had horrifying (“White Bear”, anyone?) story lines, but they were riveting (again, another buzzword).
When I watched the Christmas special, I couldn’t help noticing that I had felt like I heard the karaoke song from the scene in the bar before… looking it up, I saw that, yes, it was indeed the song from “Fifteen Million Merits.”
I finished the show and I watched Luther and I finished that and I started watching Archer to get my mind off of the intensity of the dramas but that ethereal, mystical feeling never left me when I listened to the song from “Fifteen Million Merits.” Looking it up, it was Irma Thomas’ “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is.”
I liked that feeling of mystique. The song represents how I feel whenever I look up at the clouds and I look through the sky and try to imagine how stars look in front of me. The feeling of the impossible and the never-knowing, but thinking that maybe one day people could get close to the craziness of the universe.
Whenever it snowed my freshman and sophomore year, I liked listening to The National’s “England” because it made me think of the future – that one day I would go abroad. Now that being abroad (at least as a SU student) is a thing of the past, “England” represents a rich history that I created in my junior year. It no longer was the song of the future.
A few days ago, I was at my friend’s house and I was leaving and it was snowing. Flakes were flittering down, just the way that I liked it when I would flip on The National. I was drawn, however, to Irma Thomas. The snow swirling, the lamp posts glowing a hazy beige, I walked down the middle of the street. I breathed in my solitude – I was the only one outside, peering down the road through the flickering lights and snowflakes.
I stopped. My reverie ended. I had forgotten my charger.
Being extremely attentive to my belongings most of the time, I was irked by the fact that I had forgotten something that I used so often. I went back to go pick it up. I was such in the mode of thinking of how big this universe was; really, though, it was just me enjoying being lost in my thoughts. But maybe my “daydreamer” self leads me more than I know.
I picked up my charger from her and I restarted the song and went to carry on with my evening. I was still thinking about the future, but in a different way from “England.” Instead of thinking of all the ways that life could be, Irma Thomas’ powerful, soulful lyrics represented all the ways in which I couldn’t even predict how life would turn out.