I have to be honest, I haven’t watched movies in a while. To give you an idea, I had to think long and hard just to find a movie to accuse of changing my life. It’s not because I don’t have the time – I don’t have time, but that’s just not the reason- I just don’t find them very appealing anymore. I feel that I have entered a period in my life in which I do not want to waste my time doing meaningless tasks. I categorize watching movies as meaningless as they don’t impact your life in any profound way and no one’s forcing you to do it anyway. This isn’t true about all movies- just those that present themselves to me. I find it quite ironic that it was a movie that helped me realize this.
It was a summer day. I don’t remember which day or which summer – perhaps it was five years ago or a nine years ago- but I remember that the day started off promising. It was one of those summer days in which you wake up when the day is already half over, but you have hope for the day to be promising nonetheless. My family and I had the grand idea of spending the prime of the day at the movies. At the time, we were on vacation in India. My brother and I had not been accustomed to the unforgiving Indian humidity so naturally our solution to this problem was to to camp out at the movies where the air conditioning will cool the air around us to our liking.
I believe the movie playing was Turbo. As I remember it, it was either a movie about a really fast snail that wanted to race or a slow snail that wanted to be fast so that it can race. Either way, we were watching snails race and I can tell you it was about as exciting as it sounds. The movie was about an hour and a half long, and after watching it I felt robbed of an hour and a half. My cousins, who were also on vacation in India, braved the humidity and went fishing while I watched snails race. At dinner, we talked about our day and I remember my cousin Richie, who was about four or five years old at the time, boasting about seeing a jellyfish wrestling a salmon. Now I don’t believe this tale, but I wasn’t there to see it, so I couldn’t say anything about it.
Now I know this may see quite exaggerated, but these events really did happen- besides Richie seeing a salmon wrestling a jellyfish, I just put that in there to make an essay about snails racing more interesting- and that day, I realized that I had been wasting too much time in front of the screen. It made me wonder why I started watching movies in the first place and I realized that it was supposed to be used as a distraction. When I was a kid, my parents gave me a screen to distract me with Scooby Doo or Tom and Jerry while they went about finishing the tasks that life demands of them to do. They never took the screen back, so whenever I got bored, I tuned to the screens as a means of a distraction. Growing up, I would finish my homework and then run straight to my TV to get a dose of some of that good distraction. When I realized this, I had realized that I had lived the better part of my life distracted. There was a day that children went outside to play and made up stories about seeing jellyfish wrestling salmon, but now children are too distracted by their screens to bother to go outside.
I decided that I did not want to live half distracted, but then I realized that I could not live in any other way. Without a distraction I get bored easily, I realized, I need the distraction. We depend on this distraction. We crave for a distraction. We need something to take out minds off the causes of our anxiety. We have an irrational fear of what the future holds for us. While we anxiously await the future, we are restlessly waiting for the tedious present to pass. We sold out time for a distraction, and in doing so we have allowed ourselves to be enslaved by the distraction.
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