Rubbish and Revolution

Courtney and I just watched a challenging, ambitious documentary called Flow: For Love of Water. The film's broad scope approaches its topic from multiple angles: water sanitation, water distribution, water preservation, resource abuse, water hoarding, river damning, etc. It was the kind of film that made me feel evil for having enjoyed bottled water, yet also powerful because I can, apparently, do something to help create positive change.

This is not a typical night in the Walling nest, at least, not yet. More typically, Courtney and I end up sitting in bed, watching episodes of various TV shows online. As is common with many series followers, we end getting sucked into the characters' lives and will watch the show for hours. While initially fun ("We get to watch TV and snuggle as much as we want!"), Courtney recently lamented, "This is ridiculous. We're addicted to television shows and we don't even have a TV."

Perhaps some of you can relate. You're friend or roommate loans you the first season of a series so that you can "try it out." Giving someone a season of a show is like giving them a bucket of Red Vines licorice. Unless they have no taste in good candy, it will be gone before the week (or weekend) is out.

You know those nights; those near-to-all nigthers during which the phrase, "Just one more episode," is uttered time and again, not unusually from a mouth recently or currently full of some only-to-be-eaten-at-night-because-it's-too-embarrassing-during-the-day snack (say, Twinkies or Ding Dongs or those Zebra Cakes that always taste better in your mind).

We're still trying to figure out how to balance those two types of (to use this word rather liberally) entertainment options. Too much revolution and you can't help but feel guilty, either that or self-righteous. I'm sure my parents can attest most especially to the latter, as I've come home on more than one occasion puffed up with some newly procured information about an obscure social injustice. Was it important? Sure. Did that justify browbeating my father for enjoying a certain kind of burrito? No, I suppose not.

Too much rubbish, on the other hand, and you're left seeing life as a series of punch lines, a long, never-ending sitcom that just needs a backing score and some canned laughter. Do you have those days? Those pleased-with-yourself, self-conscious sitcom days? Days during which you make jokes or statements that are only funny to the audience in your mind? I have those. And that's when I know I've been watching too many episodes of whatever particular show Courtney and I are chowing down on nightly.

Sadly, this post excludes the idea that we might be able to entertain ourselves with something other than TV. Sure, Courtney and I sing together a little bit. We cook food together. I read some. She works on projects. But we've yet to go to an art museum in town, yet to walk alongside the river and stare at Indiana, yet to play music at a coffee shop.

So I'm starting us out tomorrow. I've got pre-screening passes to see Invictus, the bio-pic about Nelson Mandela, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon (guess who's playing Mandela). Sure, a movie theater is arguably just a giant television room, but it's a start. And, judging from the film's trailer, it looks to have a healthy balance of rubbish and revolution, which is something to be admired.


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