Reality Drama


Sometimes I really have fun subverting the “reality drama” genre, you know? Because the drama of reality isn’t always about sex, vices, arguments, competition, smack-talking, appraising, or unraveling. (In other words: getting what we want, and disparaging what we hate.) The drama of reality can also refer to explorations of the utterly mundane. Making ordinariness an occasion for attention. In this case, that might mean cooing like an idiot over a cat, and giving a sloppy, unnecessary video tour of the house you grew up in.

Arguably, the boring stuff does not qualify as “drama.” (After all, what’s the purpose of the word if it just encompasses everything?) But my point is that drama is not an objective category. It depends less on the particular content and more on the mind we bring to it.

We think of drama as being juicy, compelling, and maybe a little dirty. That’s what we expect, and in a way, that’s what we want. At the heart of drama is conflict. Non-drama is non-conflictual.

But fortunately for us everyday drama queens, there is a fundamental, inescapable basis for conflict underlying every single experience of our lives.


Birth and death.

My other childhood cat, Merlyn (nicknamed Murray), died on my birthday this year. He was put to sleep. Even though he’s not pictured here, his presence comes through: Sabrina’s been meowing a lot more now that Murray’s not around.

I lived with my parents in this house from age one to 18. These days, it’s filling up. Stuff accumulating everywhere. Old stuff. My parents themselves are old. Sooner or later this house won’t be ours anymore. Sooner or later they’ll be gone. And sooner or later, I will be, too.

This isn’t meant to be angsty or morbid, and I’m not trying to reveal some hidden meaning behind the video. I’m only trying to point to the drama inherent in change, instability, and decay. This is happening all around us, and within us, constantly.

And for that reason, we don’t have to seek out drama in the bitter places, or in the triumphs. Or even in the unremarkable stuff. We don’t need to seek out drama; and yet, it’s always there for us. A friendly, very loyal reminder.


Inviting us to wake up to it: see it; know it; feel the suffering it brings; understand its causes; and work toward its cessation.

One thought on “Reality Drama

  1. Roger Nehring September 23, 2010 / 7:36 am

    Thanks for the visit. It was nice to see and hear you and your old pal. We have two cats(and two dogs, the cats live mainly upstairs). So, thanks again.

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