Long Term vs. Short Term Obsessions
Unlike Sarah Marshall in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” I am not afraid of commitment. I will keep holding on as day turns to night and then continue to do so until it has been years. I probably sound clingy, but I haven’t had any complaints. This is probably because I am not talking about my commitment to human relationships but to my obsessions. It would actually be pretty difficult for most of my obsessions to complain, since they do not have mouths with which to do so. That would be adorable, though. Can’t you just imagine a smiling TV set? Or the Twitter whale talking to me? I could probably skip seeing a face on a photograph of food, however.
It is not too difficult to maintain the fixations I just mentioned. Thanks to my iPhone and my extremely light MacBook Air computer, I can actually nurture all three of them at the same time—Apple products are constantly protecting me from academic productivity.
Not only are my obsessions very accessible and easy to maintain, but I also do not get tired of them. It might sound cheesy, but in these long-term relationships, I feel like I am constantly discovering new things about my partners. Television is constantly offering new seasons of my favorite shows or premieres of brand-new shows, a tiny percentage of which survive (and a smaller percentage of which deserve to). Twitter’s updates are measured in seconds—it can actually be overwhelming. Many of my periods of low Twitter activity have been matters of me avoiding getting too caught up: I follow 238 people, after all. And I have 63 followers. I know you were wondering. The food community never gets boring, either. This is partially because eating does not cease to be a need, and I am always looking for ideas of what to eat or looking to replace making an unhealthy but delicious choice with—well, just looking at it. The fact that the epicurean blogosphere is a fairly tight-knit virtual community also spices things up, or keeps things fresh, or any other food pun that would be appropriate here. While food trends are in danger of ending up one-note, what tends to happen instead is that different bloggers make their own twists on the most popular meals of the moment, be they seasonal, inspired by technology, or a popular writer’s personal craving. So many twists are possible, too, from making the food friendly for different types of diets, to making them occasion-appropriate, to adapting them to what ingredients and tools are available to the bloggers.
I maintain a few other long-term obsessions (example: cute animals. But only indisputably cute animals, like kittens. Squirrels are absolutely out of the question). But I must confess that I have also dabbled in some short-term affairs. I have friends who become intensely passionate about things for very short periods of time before moving on to the next thing. I cannot say that I have experienced obsessions in bursts quite in the way that these friends do, though, because my short-term obsessions are with things I simply cannot put too much into. Fixations on websites like FMyLife and Engrish Funny have happened, but not for long because I quickly stopped feeling like I was getting anything new out of them. After all, there are only so many times that I can read about someone’s parents telling them they are adopted on their birthday. I even drop television shows when they become too one-note. My sister really hates it when “you spend a year convincing me to watch this show, and then you finally get me into it, but then once I like it, you don’t want to watch it anymore! It’s so annoying. You’re so annoying! I hate you! Wash the dishes! I got an A on my paper! You’re not the boss of me! Call Mom!”
My loyalty to some of my obsessions can make it difficult to convince me to try something new. I hypocritically resist and resent the kind of insistent convincing I do to get my sister to watch the TV shows I like. I usually feel too busy with my constant fixations to try anything new, especially something like a TV show, which has the potential to become a longtime love—it took me ages to watch “Breaking Bad,” which, as I have mentioned in a previous piece, you should watch. I also tend not to go for things that seem like they will hold my interest for only a short burst. After all, the types of obsessions I hold on to only briefly tend to be unproductive in every way: I cannot possibly defend visiting FMyLife.com on a daily basis. I am fascinated by how people can invest themselves in meaningful endeavors only briefly because that does not work for me. I can only give short-term attention to things that feel purely frivolous, and, as I am sure my dry writing style and boring hair suggest, there is simply no room in my life for pure fun.