I have never been a huge TV watcher. I have a few key shows that I follow, but I spend most of my time reading, playing video/computer games, etc. It’s not that I don’t like TV, I just never feel like I have the time to devote to it. Usually when I start watching a show, it’s because something about one of the characters hooks me.
When I started watching House, it was for his sarcasm. When I started watching Bones, it was the banter between the two lead characters. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was the blend of humour and great character development. On The Big Bang Theory, it was Sheldon Cooper.
There are also several shows that I avoided for years because of the hype. I have the same tendency with books — when there is too much hype surrounding it, I automatically assume it can’t possibly live up to it. As a result, I tend to be pretty late to the party when it comes to popular books and shows since I generally wait until most of the hype dies down before even picking up the book for the first time.
For years, I avoided watching Gilmore Girls because every time I saw clips on TV, I only ever saw Lorelai and I found her pretty irritating. After having the show highly recommended to me by several good friends (and getting access to Netflix), I decided to give it a fair shot and I discovered that I have never related more strongly to a TV character than I did to Rory Gilmore, at least in certain scenes.
Case in point:
This is definitely taken to an extreme, but I’ve had this kind of issue when packing a bag for a vacation. I have a tendency to take at least 2 more books than I would actually reasonably be able to finish in time. Whether on vacation or at home, I seem to have consistent problem with overestimating how much I will have time to read. I never seem to have an accurate sense of how much free time I have or how long a book will take me.
Another case in point:
MRS. VERDINAS: We’ve been concerned about your social behavior here at school.
RORY: What about it?
MRS. VERDINAS: You don’t seem to interact much with the other students.
RORY: I do sometimes. In class, all the time.
MRS. VERDINAS: But rarely outside of class. At lunch, you’re always by yourself.
RORY: That’s when I catch up on my reading.
MRS. VERDINAS: And that walkman, it makes you very unapproachable.
I couldn’t find the clip to go with it, but it is another scene from the same episode as the clip above. Mrs. Verdinas, a school counsellor, pulls Rory aside after finding her once again reading alone in the cafeteria, and starts questioning her social skills. Essentially, the argument they try to make is because Rory prefers to read during her lunch hour, there must be something wrong with her. Later on, her mother goes to speak to the headmaster about the accusation:
LORELAI: Well, I wanted to talk to you about Rory and uh, this ridiculous accusation about her being a loner and how that’s somehow something bad.
HEADMASTER: Well, it is bad.
LORELAI: No, it’s not bad, it’s just her. I raised Rory to do what she wants as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. And I don’t see how her reading a book or listening to a walkman is hurting anyone.
HEADMASTER: It’s hurting her.
LORELAI: I respectfully disagree.
As someone who has been told my whole life that I should be “louder” or “talk more” or that I need to “get out more,” it was great to see a character on TV who was in the same boat and who didn’t automatically try to change herself to fit other people’s views. While I can understand the importance of having appropriate social skills and being able to comfortably interact, all Rory was doing was reading during the little free time she had during her day. I see nothing wrong with choosing to spend her limited time in the way that she chooses, and I easily would have made the same choice.
I work in a field where I am constantly around people all day. I’ve always been a very introverted person and there are times where I just need some time away from everyone to recharge. I don’t necessarily have to be totally alone. I don’t mind if others are in the room having a conversation among themselves, but I wouldn’t necessarily want or even feel the need to be included in every conversation. I’ve often found that people find it strange that I don’t want to participate in debates or many of the random discussions that come up. Although I’d say I’m a decent writer, I have a much harder time expressing myself verbally without time to prepare in advance. I am perfectly content to sit back and listen to the discussion, and if I have something that I really want to say, then I’ll say it.
It was an issue for me all through school as well. From elementary school all the way up until university and college, I was constantly told that I was “too quiet” and that I “needed” to participate more in class. I even had a teacher pull me aside once and basically say that I was essentially depriving the class of my knowledge by not speaking up more — a statement that I take serious issue with, and that I will go into in a future post if people are interested. For all the talk in schools about different learning styles, I didn’t necessarily feel very respected. My schools seemed to value one kind of student — the outgoing, highly social type.
As I said above, I understand that good social skills are important in “the real world” but I think we need to broaden the definition of what these kinds of skills entail. We shouldn’t view the Rory Gilmores of the world as a problem just because they choose to read instead of talk during their break, and we shouldn’t necessarily see a person sitting alone as a person who has a problem.