I’m on an airplane, flying back home to Seattle for Christmas – to the land of families, mid-sized sedans, and wooden nativity sets. I get a bit more sentimental on airplanes than I do on the ground. I think it’s the wonder of being in a metal capsule thousands of feet up in the air. There’s also the possibility of a clear- and pending-death thing. It gets me in the mood for a little reflection. Also, I can’t watch TV up here, so I might as well write about it.
I spent hours on Sunday watching the first season of Angel on Netflix. (A pop-up stopped me, multiple times, to ask whether I was still watching. I could’ve died in the meantime, it figured.) In this one scene, Angel cooks eggs for his employees/friends. This is how it goes: they fight evil all night, and in the morning, sometimes, Angel makes them eggs. He’s a surprisingly good cook for a vampire, since vamps are not really into eating solids.
I was touched and a bit jealous. It struck me how easy it is, on TV or in other media, to get me to root for a group of people. All Angel has to do is show me three people sit down to eggs, and I immediately watch 17 more episodes. Just get people together, in close relationships, and have them occasionally be nice to each other. That’s all it takes.
There’s been a lot of hand wringing over the effects of technology and media in our lives. Do we watch too much TV, so much so that we never go out and meet one another? Do we miss out on each other because we’re too attached to our phones? We’re always connected via social media, but are we really connecting? Are we doing it ALL WRONG?
I’m kind of over it, the worrying. Yep, we do seem a bit messed up with our phones and earbuds and loneliness. Not too many people I know seem genuinely well-adjusted to the 21st century. And sure, it’s probably better to be with friends than to watch Friends. But it’s not like the struggle to connect is new. We’ve always been connected but improperly connecting. It’s a human thing: to be interdependent on each other and yet ignorant of what it’s like to be literally anyone else.
Maybe you could use a rest from analyzing your life, right now. Life’s hard enough without the accompanying guilt of not “getting out there” enough. Of not having all the boxes checked. Of having killed all those people before gypsies cursed you and restored your soul.
So whether your Christmas Angel is a nativity one, carved out of wood, or a fictional brooding vampire, it’s okay! By the power invested in me by the fact that I write on this unsolicited, unpaid blog sometimes, I grant you immunity from holiday scrutiny.
Merry Christmas, everybody, and Happy Holidays.