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Aug
23

finite jest

Do you ever catch yourself watching TV?

One minute you’re totally absorbed in the show and the next you’re looking at a rectangular electronic device with images flashing across it. When you’re in the moment, you’re in the show. It’s all-consuming. It’s all there is.

And then it’s not. It’s just a picture, no different than the pictures on the wall.

And do you ever imagine what you look like watching TV? Like if someone was watching you from outside. Watching you watch TV.

And then you pull back even further. Sitting on the couch, but imagining yourself high above your neighborhood. You’re a bird flying and soaring and looking down at it all. While you’ve been watching TV nothing has stopped. The world is barreling on.

And then you get sucked back into the program and you are totally lost in it again. The house disappears and the pictures on the wall disappear and you disappear.

I’ve had it happen when I’m watching a bad movie at the theater. I’m looking around at all the people in the darkness. At the ceiling and at the bucket of popcorn in my lap. Wishing the movie was better so I could lose myself once more.

I used to travel a lot. The same thing would happen with the people I would meet. I’m there and they’re there and then one or both of us aren’t.

Wishing the conversation was better or they were better or I was better. Sometimes we’d keep talking, but I was a bird looking down at the building. Sometimes I could actually feel the wind on my face.

And which of these realities was the TV show and which was me on the couch? Sometimes I couldn’t tell.

Sometimes it was a show about birds.

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