Monday, November 19, 2012

Claustrophobia

I have been thrown for a loop. Found myself watching the Breaking Amish wrap up show, part 2 last night. Those crazy kids have managed to shock and awe me. What they taught me is that Amish people are sneaky. Is this what the show was meant to relay?

Years ago, my husband and I drove up to Amish country for a little vacation in the fall, drove all around and visited those towns with the suggestive names (Bird In Hand, Intercourse, Blue Ball) and when we checked into our hotel in Intercourse, I checked out the TV channel listing (which was all of about 10 channels, as this was the mid-90s and there just weren't that many channels). One channel was called "The Witness Movie Channel." As we unpacked and got ready to head out to the adjoining Amish restaurant for a hot, comfort-food dinner, we pondered over what this might mean. Is this like a channel of religious programming? Like, bearing witness? Were they trying to convert guests?

No, they weren't.

Just as you might have guessed, the channel featured the movie Witness, starring Harrison Ford and Kelly MacGillis and a young Lukas Haas, because the movie handled the Amish culture so respectfully. No, the Amish might not have been fully supportive of all parts of the movie (including the nude scene), they were proud of the overall treatment that was shown.

Fast forward lots of years to now. What are these real-life Amish folk teaching us through their "reality" show on Breaking Amish? From them, we learn the Amish way of giving only the necessary information (as in Yes, I do want to leave my culture and visit the city) without any supportive information (I'm also divorced, have a DUI and am no stranger to English ways since I have left the Amish way of life in the past. Is that relevant?). To the Amish, this is to protect their privacy; but perhaps they misunderstand the idea of reality television? That expectation of privacy flies out the window. Because if people are willing to spend an hour of their time tuning in and watching your life, they want to see you being real. They want honesty.

The producers--did they do their background checks on these kids? Did they want to show this secretive side of the Amish, this tendency to stray from their proper confines to experience life in the English world and remain in a bubble? What's the purpose of this show?

And then I remembered. It's not about honesty. It's not about sharing. It's about ratings. Silly me.

NaBloPoMo prompt: If you had to get locked in some place (book store, amusement park, etc) overnight alone, where would you choose to be locked in?

I choose to be locked in nowhere. I get claustrophobia just thinking about being locked into any place, big or small. I need to be able to get outside or get air.

I like the idea of getting locked in a bookstore; but I'd try to smuggle out too many books when I was finally released and then I'd get sent to jail and that would be really really claustrophobic (and possibly dangerous and painful) so that might not be the best idea.

I like the idea of getting locked in an amusement park because it is open-air, but I don't like the idea of the amusement park as I've seen too many spooky movies and I would fear that it was haunted and or full of serial killers, zombies or posses of insane clowns. Again, possibly dangerous and painful. Not the best idea. (This is the part that ties into the Amish bit that I wrote about--stay with me here--Kingpin has an Amish bowler (played by the awkwardly awesome Randy Quaid) and a former bowler with a hook hand (Woody Harrelson) who also played a guy who kills zombies in an abandoned amusement park in Zombieland). Two degrees separating Amish and Zombies.

No, I would like to be locked in my house alone; I don't get to spend a lot of evenings in my home alone. I'd eat copious amounts of antipasto, drink red wine, listen to music and hang out in the hammock and the hot tub grotto that I would have installed for the occasion. I would paint; read a few books; watch a movie or two. It would be a really long night where time was malleable, calories and carbs were non-existent and claustrophobia did not play a part.

Maybe I just need a vacation?

Yeah, but definitely not to Amish country.

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