I spent eight hours today on a grant application and my eyeballs started to go in opposite directions. Winter comes smacking in the front door early these days, and so by the time I left campus, I skipped my regular run for a jaunt at the university gym. Davis has a pretty luxurious rec center for students. I believe I could bring a sleeping bag and find a nice corner to nap in somewhere, if it ever came to that. But instead I jumped on an elliptical machine and tuned out the world for a nice long while.
Except that there was something called "Married to Rock Star" on the television just a few feet from my face. I couldn't help it; I'm not much of a television person, and the fact that so much teased blonde hair and male eyeliner dangling within eyesight made it impossible to look away. Those women stole my time, whisked it right away from me with their explicit, recognized vapidity, and their desire for Hello Kitty weddings in castles. I found myself questioning more than just their clothing choices. After a while I started to challenge my own snap judgments--who am I to say what one millionaire lady should say to another? And is it really fair to insist that all the fake conflicts on the show are fabricated, that the plots of "reality television" are dismal inflations of non-problems?
I stayed on that machine a good 45 minutes, and by the time I finally extricated my feet from the elliptical, I had to remind myself where I was, who I was, and what on earth I was doing so far from an enchanted castle. It reminded me of when, as a child, I would watch my brother and his friends playing video games and have to shake myself awake after watching the same little animated figures jump on the same multicolored toadstools time and time again. Is it monotony, or is it hypnotism?
Regardless, by the time I left the gym, I had completely forgotten the stress of the workday. I'd like to attribute that to endorphins, to active, warm muscles, but in my heart I think I know what really happened.