Don't be her
There’s a song by Tool – the first line is: "You’re such an inspiration for the ways that I will never ever choose to be." Being a Tool fan, every time I hear that song I’m reminded of this woman I met a few years ago.
Okay, looking back, it must be something like five years ago, if not six. See, I had a friend in Toronto, who had a friend in LA, who was flying up to Vancouver BC to visit the set of this television show. My friend couldn’t go meet her, so it was decided by committee or something that I would drive up – being only three hours away from Vancouver BC myself.
So, I figure this is gonna be harmless. I drive to Canada all the time, no big deal, and if something were to go hinky or get strange, I could just turn around and drive back home. This woman I was meeting was around my age, single, and had no clue what to expect in Vancouver, so I knew if this turned out to be one of those internet meeting horror stories, I had the upper hand.
Well naturally nothing happened, seeing as how I’m right here talking to you. I met this woman, and we got along just fine for what we were there to do. We made several set visits, talked to lots of actors and directors, producers, bla bla bla. But the one thing that really hit me from that entire trip was something this woman said.
Actually it was something she asked me, that first night. Some awards show of some sort came on the tv that night, and she was all excited to watch it. I frankly had no clue what was going on, since I pay absolutely no attention to any show that doesn’t interest me – and very few do. But she was settling right in to watch every second of this awards show. When she realized I didn’t know the majority of these actors or programs, she asked me this: "What is it you do with your time, when you’re not working?"
Now I don’t mean she was asking to be polite. And she wasn’t asking to make conversation. She was asking me because she literally had no idea what else there was to do on planet earth between working and sleeping except for watching television. She had no hobbies. She had no life.
She had nothing outside of television.
I’m not exaggerating here at all, I swear. She started grilling me about what I did, what hobbies there were and why did I like them – and would she like them – and what do other people do?
Her life was wrapped up in television. She even recorded programs during the work day so she would have enough to keep her going during weekends and holidays. This woman had nothing else in her life. She didn’t go out, she didn’t have friends, her family lived on the other side of the country. She lived for television and movies.
The only time she left LA was to visit television sets that weren’t filming in LA. She was wrapped up completely in these little fannish things, like fan clubs and fan fiction and all things related to people who can’t turn it off and go outside.
It was sad.
So do me a favor – if you don’t have a hobby, go get one. If you know more about the actors you see on television than you do your friends or coworkers, it’s time to turn that thing off and go outside. Buy a book and read it. Pick up some needlepoint or knitting. Learn how to build birdhouses or tile a floor.
Don’t be that woman.