Friday, January 19, 2018

Too Involved

I am using a twelve-day guest membership at the Y. I keep it simple, walking on the treadmill at a severe incline. I have never watched sports on the wall TV while walking on the treadmill.  I find I have to hold the railings, because I lean in to the action on the screen.  If the running back cuts left, I mimic this. Even when I tell myself not to, it merely decreases the effect, not eliminates it.

I recall from video games that I would do something similar.  Playing Pac-Man would would make me tense and wear out not only my wrist, not only my arm, but my whole upper body.  There are those who can stand immobile and gently move controls, but I suspect most people move sympathetically with the action, at least a bit. I have no doubt that I am well worse than average on this scale. It feels hard-wired. I do something like this in action movies as well, and even some whivh are not action movies.  I am far too part of what happens on the screen, like the rabbits in Watership Down when listening to a storyteller. I duck, I wince, I laugh and respond much more loudly than others. If a screen is happening, I have to pay attention to it.  If songs with lyrics are playing I cannot keep it in the background, I cannot ignore it.  Ditto the radio in another room, if the words are discernible. Only in the presence of a more powerful distraction can I not attend.

I suspect it is more like what our ancestors did - our remoter, more primitive ancestors.

It is a possible explanation why I mistrust movies.  I view them as too powerful for our neurology.  Mine anyway.


Christopher B said...

You're not alone, though my reaction is somewhat duller. I still have trouble watching scenes where the actor(s) face the peril of falling from great height. I've only recently become somewhat immune to voices. I can fall asleep to low monotone dialog but voices will often keep me listening. Music isn't as much of a problem for me but I'm a very amateur musician. Maybe your musical background increases your engagement?

Donna B. said...

I mean this kindly, but I bet you'd be a hoot and a half to watch wearing those 3D glasses that attach to a cell phone playing a video (I have no idea what they're actually called.)

On a treadmill, I'd never attempt to watch any TV as the disparate movement would give me a headache and make me nauseated.

Movies certainly don't affect me that way as I'm too aware of the production aspects. A poorly shot action sequence makes me feel physically ill. Some don't -- one of my favorite scenes is from Hunt for Red October when the Dallas "flies" out of the water. From the same movie, I can't stand the shootout with the cook. I'm much more likely to get caught up in a stage production. Or a book. I do understand what you mean about the seductive nature of drama.

Songs with lyrics and radio or TV, I'm right there with you. Talk shows are the worst, especially NPR and CSPAN because of the monotonic affectation. Some instrumental music is the same. For example some ballets, because I see the dances in my head - lyrics of a different sort. With other music, I am either absorbed or begin to mentally see the score. I could never understand how anyone could study with music playing or a TV on.

Sam L. said...

The "Dallas" was "played" by the USS Blueback, now part of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland.

Donna B. said...

Sam L - Thank you, I did not know that.

jaed said...

If a screen is happening, I have to pay attention to it.

Living on the ancestral plain, having to pay attention to any motion in your field of vision was highly adaptive. Keeps you from ignoring the lion running toward you until it's too late.

For a period of time (ancient TV + Amazon Prime movies), I was watching movies on my laptop screen instead of a television screen. I noticed that some movies were much more emotionally intense for me when I had the screen literally in my lap. There were some things—even movies I'd enjoyed before or since—that I just can't watch in that mode because they bother me too much.