Monday, August 24, 2009

Blank People

"We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.” - Fydor Dostoevsky

My favorite movie, About a Boy, uses double voice-over narration with the thoughts of the two main characters. In one of the scenes, the character Will is explaining how he views his life and the lives of others as television shows. In his show, he is the main character and all the people around him are just other actors. He is concerned with what he does and keeping his show interesting. If other people's shows are having trouble, that is no concern of his. (I know that doesn't do it justice and I'd like to watch the scene right now so I could quote it, but Ryan is watching golf and I'm already sitting here at the computer ignoring him. I'd feel rude to monopolize both the computer and the television. Maybe I'll add that in later.)

I don't know about anyone else, but I think that I do kind of see my life that way. Not the not caring about other people and their shows, but the part where I'm the main character of my life and my friends and family are the supporting cast. I'm part of the supporting cast in their lives. Friends of friends are shows I don't watch regularly, but I keep up with their shows because some of my supporting cast are also their supporting cast. Then there are the people in my life who aren't really cast mates, but I watch their shows enough to keep up with the plot because they happen to be filming at the same time as my show. The people I don't know are just extras. Blank people. Girl 2 with ice cream. I don't know anything about them so it's like they are a television show that I don't watch and that none of my cast mates talk about.

I don't know why I was thinking about this today and I don't really know where I'm going with it. Something about the thought made me sad. Obviously it is impossible to know everyone you encounter. No one can watch and know the plot of every show or how well it is doing, but some part of me wishes I could. I think a lot of people are fascinating and think fascinating thoughts and it would be great to get a glimpse of that. But I guess it is a lot easier to not think about those blank people. Do I really want to know how difficult life is for Sad Grocery Cashier or what is going on with Bitter Old Lady in Cafe'? And isn't it a lot easier to be annoyed at Rude Woman in Line or Jerk Number 3 if I don't know that she has just found out her husband is cheating on her or that he just lost his job?

I guess I sometimes feel overwhelmed by keeping up with my own show and worrying about how the shows of my cast mates are are doing that I don't have time to take on any new shows. How sad is it that I don't have time for additional other people? I haven't always been this way, but I feel like I've become hesitant to take on any recurring guest roles or new cast mates. In the past year, I have encountered a few people who I couldn't seem to resist bringing into the case, but not many. There are also a few people I've completely lost track of. I don't like feeling this way. And I kind of don't like that I'm talking about myself or other people as actors in television lives, but this is the closest thing I have to a completed post so I'm going to post it anyway. By my own admission, my ratings are slipping and I need to fire my writer.

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