Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Inspection

So I’ve been thinking about looking deeply into things. Pulling back the curtain. Showing what happens behind the scenes.


Incident 1: When I was at the dentist early this summer, he poked and drilled while I sat benumbed and reclined. Then he brought me upright in the chair and handed me a mirror. He was excited to show me the series of cracks in my back molars (and several other teeth), the stains everywhere, and the big hole he’d created and was about to fill. Yay!


Because I’m a compliant person, most of the time, I looked in the mirror he was holding, but I really didn’t care. I know I didn’t muster enough enthusiasm to please him, but then again, a. No one could (he was pretty enthusiastic), b. I’ve been disappointing dentists and dental hygienists longer than he’s been alive so I’m used to it, and c. Basically, making a dentist happy is not my emotional labour to perform.


Consider the hydrangea, if that's what this is:
it neither toils nor spins. It knows for whom
it performs emotional labour.



Incident 2: A little over a month ago, I had the opportunity to inspect the bottom of an almost empty water storage tank, capacity something like 250 gallons. Several buckets of sludge had already been removed and the sides had been scrubbed.


When invited, I happily hopped up to stand on the bottom of an overturned plastic pail and peer into the tank through the top hatch. I could see the bottom. The water was completely clear. It was a mystical, magical moment.


Why? I’ve wondered what made the difference between seeing the details of my mouth and the details of our water storage system.


I’m pretty curious, so I have a vague interest in the inner workings of a lot of different things. Just not my mouth, I guess. Related: recently I got to see a super special image of the inside of my husband’s eye. It was very cool.



The sun sets, not without drama,
but perhaps without pain.



But that made me think about when it is and isn’t interesting to see the inner workings of things. Why yes to the eye and the cistern but no to my teeth?


OK, the teeth thing involved needles and pain. But beyond that.


So I started thinking about glimpses “backstage.” Mostly on TV.


One allure of the competition show as a genre is to see people like aspiring models, clothing designers, and bakers at work. I like to see musicians try different interpretations of a song or spontaneously goof around together. How do other people in other artistic disciplines create?


Same with the home reno ouvre, also a creative pursuit, but for a slightly different reason: it’s fun to see a house stripped to studs and reassembled, all in the course of an hour, from the comfort of my chair. It’s satisfying when order becomes chaos and then a new order again.


Same with a behind-the-scenes look at making a movie—it can be as interesting as the movie itself.


Not yet, but never far away. 



But I’m a generalist, not a specialist. I don’t want to spend extra time with the director and set designer of every single movie I see. I’m not so keen on all the different competitive cooking shows that I never miss an episode, though that Great British Baking Show is beguiling. I’d happily watch more Project Runway, but the open concept floor plan has lost its allure.


And I’m “so over” police investigations into missing and murdered people. Maybe they’re the equivalent of the dentist with the mirror.


And so? In searching for a conclusion, I admit defeat.


I think it’s human nature to be curious about how things work, but we’re not all curious about the same things.


That’s good—I have zero curiosity about electricity, though I appreciate the curiosity and expertise of electricians every time I flip a light switch.


The end.