I tend to watch a lot of crap reality TV. It helps take my mind off more serious issues: like wars and death in the Arab world and whether my children will be safe going to school in Egypt today.
But being the semi-intelligent person I am, I realize that most if not all of what we see on reality television shows is staged in one way or another.
A couple of my friends have mentioned over the past two years that I should have a reality television show of my own. I always reply, “Do you have any idea how boring and commonplace my life is? There would be absolutely no element of entertainment.”
Of course, my life isn’t really boring. Quite to the contrary, if you ask me. I manage to spice things up as often as is possible given my circumstances. Even so, my life, as is anyone else’s, is comprised of a lot of routine interspersed with some excitement.
Last month I had a sudden burst of creative energy. I wanted to do something a bit different. How about I take small videos of random parts of my day for a month and see what that month of my life looked like in retrospect?
So I carried a mini camera with me all month long. It went with me everywhere. Sometimes I’d remember I had it with me and others I wouldn’t. When I would randomly remember I had it I’d take a short video clip of whatever it was I was doing. I kept that up for a full month.
I put together some random four-second clips from the videos I took. I thought of making it move fast-forward or of adding some music to it. But then I decided that the normal speed and the normal noise is what my life is really like. I’m going to leave things just as they are. Normal.
The thing that surprised me most was how quiet my life seems. It makes me wonder whether it has always been like that or if things would have been different had I made this video at another stage of my life. I suppose I go through most of my life not talking. I’ve never been a very talkative person. Forget that side of me you see on social media; that’s actually Little Man in My Head doing the speaking then.
The video made me wonder how this month-of-my-life video would have compared to others I could have made over the years. But it also made me wonder what other people’s month-of-their-life videos would look like. How similar are we all in how we go about our day-to-day business? How different are we?
We all have drama in our lives. I didn’t film last night’s argument with my husband, for example, that started when he said, “Why can’t you just….?” Why can’t I JUST?? I was trying to put together some documents for a visa application. Do you have any idea how degrading an experience it is for an Arab to apply for a visa to ANYWHERE? I needed a certain document photocopied and my husband couldn’t make heads or tails of the whole process. “Why can’t you just…?” And I blew up like a volcano. “I wish I could JUST!” is what I said followed by a barrage of other words. I didn’t film that. It might have made my video livelier. But we – thankfully – don’t have many of those kinds of Nadia-eruptions in our household. The constant drama we see on our favorite reality television shows is not real. It’s only a small part of a truth blown up into extra large proportions to provide you and me with some entertainment. It also makes us feel just a little bit better about our own lives, I suppose.