Sunday, October 12, 2008

don't fence me in


setting: your local video store
actors: myself, maybe a friend or boyfriend or family member
plot: trying to decide on a movie to rent for a low-key night in


i'm going to skip the story. no one wants (or needs) to be subjected to five paragraphs of perusing the action/adventure section at blockbuster, or hear how i like to set time limits before entering the video store because going into one without a specific target is the biggest time-suck since 24 or spider solitaire, or listen to me ramble aimlessly about how no video store in the history of time has been properly arranged so as to maximize efficiency and ensure that all titles are in their rightful category.

no, i'm going to gloss over all that. i'm going to go right to the moral of the story, which is this: do not ever rent a movie to me.

sometimes, in our political philosophy classes at westmont, we would talk about the 'consent of the governed.' many dead white men held very strong opinions on whether citizens gave tacit consent to our government to make decisions and hold power by virtue of our paying taxes, accepting certain benefits from them, or simply living on the land under that government's jursidiction. jean-jacques rousseau, kind of a strange guy, wrote a book about all of this from which much of this conversation is derived: the social contract.

when i rent a video from you, dear blockbuster clerk, i assume that i have (if not explicitly) received your approval to return the film whenever the sam hill i feel like it. you tell me that it is due back wednesday by 8 pm. i heard you, yes, let's make that clear. understanding is not the issue here. when you slide that dvd across the faux-wood counter after i have walked through the metal towers that prevent me from putting 'john tucker must die' in my purse - when you give me that video, you are giving me along with it your consent. i might drive by your poster-laden door five, seven, even ten times before i actually return the dvd through the slot you have conveniently provided. i will ignore your phone calls, your occasional letters to my home, your urgent warning that if not returned in 3 days i can consider myself the proud new owner of 'anacondas' or sex and the city season 3 episodes 9-12 or 'vertigo.'

you know what? maybe i WILL own that video. i will own it and i will like it! and even though i will lose it shortly after it transitioned into my permanent ownership, i will have expanded my dvd collection and furthered my foray into the arts, and isn't that really for my own betterment? so, red door studio in palo alto, you may never see your copy of 'the sting' again. blockbuster on alameda, i won't be slipping 'the orphange' through your doors anytime soon. and i, out of shame, will probably never darken your doors again. i will create memberships video store by video store throughout the greater bay area, and on that fateful day when all of my options have run out, i will close myself in and watch free reruns of bad tv shows. or i will move away. or i will possibly just die. i will have lost my raison d'etre.

until then . . .

1 comment:

SportsFan's Daughter said...

Love this. I am the proud owner of "24, Season 3, Episodes 9-12" for this very reason. And by "proud," I mean "totally shameful."