Discovering the Relevance of Words
The other day, I teared up while watching an episode of The West Wing on my computer. I don’t remember which episode it was, but it was one I’d seen before. Everybody talked really fast and walked down hallways, that much I do remember. President Bartlet probably said something profound and insightful and while Leo was endearingly brusque and Josh made jokes. Or something.
Anyway, it got me thinking about empathy, and the ability to connect with characters in an emotional way.
I cry at the movies. There I said it. I learned long ago that if I watch a movie with a woman I don’t know well there is a good chance I’ll end up teary eyed and any possibility of future sex will flee the apartment only moments before she does. I get that. Like overactive sweat glands and crippling insecurity, it’s just one of those realities of being me that I have to learn to live with. I play through it, plan around it when I can. The problem is, for all my inability to connect with people in the real world, I find it exceedingly easy to connect with fictional characters.
If I’m invested in the story and I’m taking the journey with the people on the screen, I will get choked up. And I’ll do it at exactly the point the writer wants me to. I think I talked before about the relationship of the audience to the artist, how the act of watching a show or reading book is an agreement to allow your emotions to become tied up in the story at hand. When the story at hand is well written, t becomes very easy for me to get over-invested and lose emotional control. Not that I have a huge amount of control over my emotions on a good day, but I digress.
Books have made me cry before. I think I got a little weepy a few times watching Firefly. You know that scene in Dumb and Dumber where they watch the long-distance phone commercials and cry into their hundred dollar bills? Well, I haven’t done that. But early Jim Carrey stuff was great. It appeals to the twelve year old in me. Nostalgia counts as an emotion, right?
I feel like maybe I’m opening up to a degree that borders on the uncomfortable. I’m alright with that. Because I’m gonna ask you to do the same.
Do you cry at the movies? When was the last time you did?
You don’t cry at the movies? What are you, some kind of robot?
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