Sunday, July 31, 2011

Drawing A Line In The Sand

  I use movies as an emotional crutch occasionally. A really bad mood can all turn around with a good movie. An average humdrum day can become memorable after seeing an excellent movie. You can be this close to tearing your eyes out, and then you see a hilarious comedy and you forget what you were pissed off at in the first place. But movies can have an effect on you that is not for the better. You watch too many chick flicks and you might start to believe that relationships work like that in real life. You see too many action movies, you're liable to accidentally karate chop your boss one day while doing a demonstration. You sit through too many suspense or horror movies, every noise in the night, every innocent sound around you, will turn into something sinister. This isn't a guaranteed consequence, but it can happen, and does. It just depends on how much you suspend your disbelief when you watch films, and how long it takes you to un-suspend it after the movie's over.
    I will leave the lights on when I go to bed after I see a movie that really scared me. I will seriously contemplate taking up kung fu or jujitsu after seeing a great action movie, though I give up on the idea after a few days. And I will believe in fairy tale romance after a real tear-jerking girlie movie.
    It's a just a movie, we remember, after the effects wear off. Stuff like that doesn't really happen. But the dreamer in us tries to convince us otherwise. Wouldn't life be great if that could happen? Wouldn't things be easier if I knew how to do this? Wouldn't the world be a better place if things worked that way? We are seduced by the possibilities that what if puts forth. To the point that we think we probably could do the things they do in the movies, without wires, and we probably could be attacked by aliens sometime this week, and the guy will remember your anniversary and play that song from the John Hughes movie you loved when you were a teenager.
    But just because we'd like to believe that stuff like that actually can happen doesn't mean we should. We can draw that line between fantasy that movies create, and reality that prevents those things from really happening. We just have to remember that gravity does exist, demons do not, and while true love may exist, the perfect partner does not. Everyone has their flaws and if you love them, you will love them in spite of those flaws.
As enjoyable as it is to lose yourself in a fantasy for a couple hours at a movie, when the movie's over, we have to remember to unplug our brains and come back to reality. Failure to do so can cause serious problems. Usually interpersonal problems rather than psychological or physical, but serious nonetheless.
    People skills succeed or fail based on our ability to evaluate, communicate and understand the people around us. If our expectations of others are unrealistic, whether we think they're a Russian spy or Prince Charming, our ability to live in the world as we know it will fail because we have failed to accurately and effectively evaluate and communicate with the people we interact with on a daily basis.
Back to reality.

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