I am sorry I have been missing from the blogging scene for a few weeks. But, I have a solid alibi for where I’ve been.
It isn’t the usual excuse – having a blogging/existential/both crisis. Well, it sort of is, but it has been more of me trying to avoid having a crisis in the first place.
Or I’ve been hypnotised by the very pretty Simon Baker, which has resulted in me bingewatching his TV show The Mentalist.
Yes, I’ve substituted every spare moment I have (including blogging time, exercise time, contemplating my place in the universe time…) with watching the surprisingly funny crime show The Mentalist. I feel a little bit guilty for wasting time like this but hey, sorry but not sorry.
Sure it’s a bad habit to be procrastinating like this, but I sincerely believe our distractions tell us more about ourselves than our occupations. Superficially, it seems like a case of the lotos eaters – a mythological tribe of people who were too distracted with eating lotos to get on with their lives – but if you read between the lines, your obsessions tell more about you than your responsibilities.
Apart from my latent talent in solving crime, the most obvious clue in this case lies in the beauty of the lead himself. Simon Baker is so obviously beautiful, I’m even disappointed by how easily and consistently I am distracted by it. Of course, his character – the playful, manipulative, cowardly, 100-carat-smile-flashing ex-psychic Patrick Jane – has enough charisma to hook anybody. Not just a pretty face, he exercises the mind too, with stunning admissions like, “Everyone should do arts and craft.”
Next, are the episodic crimes themselves. It’s probably endless repetitions of commercials that lent TV the nickname “Idiot Box”, but the best whodunnits are excellent exercises for the brain. You, as the audience, start solving the problem in parallel with the detectives, and while the detective has the advantage over you in exposing the motivation in the final act, it’s the clues, the trail of breadcrumbs that act as bait for you. Every piece of televisual entertainment is a revelation of some kind, but the satisfaction gained from a whodunnit is different from any other.
I wondered what Patrick Jane would observe if he had to, uh, mentalise me. “Intelligent but lazy. Has weak resolve, easily led by the pleasure principle. However, is hard on herself, plagued with constant guilt, stemming from childhood restrictions. Copes by laughing it all off.”
There’s this idea from High Fidelity – What matters is what you like, not what you are like. That, how you choose to spend your time, your tastes, your preferences, tell more about who you are, than any assessments made of your person. In cinema, I preferred quite sordid, slice-of-life, independent fare for a long time. I don’t know why I chose it, or why I grew out of it. I suppose, because I did not see cinema as an escape, a kick, a relief, but as something serious and important. A responsibility even, something to deeply engage yourself in. Whodunnits are a fine line between the serious and the frivolous, because they may appear shiny and dreamy, but real things happen in them all the time.
I still have a few seasons to go (no spoilers please!), but I think it’s time to get back to reality. One didn’t cause the other, but I have been bingewatching more because I’ve been anxious about a couple of things, things that are unlikely to be resolved any time soon. Sometimes, it’s better (and easier) to just forget, keep aside, than actively try to resolve an issue. No self-help book would tell you that. They’d ask you to be proactive instead, or change your life altogether. But, if momentary distractions, relaxations, obsessions can do the trick, why not let them?
What have you been watching lately? How do you distract yourself?