Living a sitcom life #4 – alien environments

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December 11, 2010 by jessperriam

I was watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother last night (actually I lie, I feel asleep during the episode) and Barney ran the New York City Marathon.

You’re already laughing, or thinking about laughing, right?

Because the thought of a (track)suited sleaze, with no history of athleticism running a marathon with no training or preparation whatsoever is funny.

You’re left wondering whether he can make it, whether he’ll cheat, if he’ll finish last, if he’ll finish at all. Questions, questions.

Being in a situation that is abnormal for you creates conflict of sorts and can turn the mundane into something interesting. Either way, you’ll have an opinion at the end of it. Who knows, you may just change your attitude towards it (but you may not and that’s ok too)

Take yesterday morning for example. “What’s so special about a bog-standard Friday morning?” I hear you ask.

Not much. I woke up, did all the things you do when you wake up.

And then I went to my old primary school to watch my four year old niece’s kindergarten Christmas concert.

It was nine in the morning and I’d neglected to take my morning dose of caffeine.

The kids were all seated on the concrete floor, sporting identically painted white shirts, singing and dancing along to an hour’s worth of songs. The highlight of the set list was a rousing rendition of the West Coast Eagles team song after lacklustre attempt of the famed “Freo heave-ho” dirge.

The parents and grandparents were behaving worse, elbows out, armed with video cameras, digital SLRs, iPhones, anything to capture the precious moment when their delightful child had a half-arse go at singing and dancing. Never mind that the kids were moving so much, you’d get 250 identical blurry photos of anyone’s child but yours. Don’t worry about the fact that there are more teachers and parents in your shot than little peeps. And by all means, neglect the fact that the odds are really high that you’ll never watch that video ever again.

No really, you’re more likely to watch the entire first season of Mad Men (mmm… Don Draper!) more times than you’ll watch little Jayden sedately sing along to the Aussie Jingle Bells with a bunch of other likeminded tots, each branded with their own ridiculous names.

Wow. See what happens when I go to school Christmas concerts without caffeine? I dream of a thermos full of coffee and/or a hip flask of something to numb the pain from the fact that the CD backing track was louder than the kids’ singing. And that the teachers were dancing far more enthusiastically than the children.

I could go on, really I could. Suffice to say that if my attitudes don’t change, I pity my poor future children.

But this is my case in point. To live a sitcom life, to have the stories to tell at the local with your rag tag group of hangers-on, you need to get out into alien environments and just experience it from your context.

I’d be very interested to hear my 83 year old grandfather’s take on his alien environment of my cousin’s 21st birthday party last night. The 80s themed party was throbbing with drum and bass music and littered with glow sticks.

What have you done lately? What alien environments have you ventured into?


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