The essential plot of this show is that Jaye Tyler, a 24-year-old retail employee, starts hearing inanimate objects talk to her. They give her vague instructions like "Pick up that quarter," or "Make me a match," and each time she (reluctantly) listens, it sets off a chain of events that ends up helping someone in need. But why do I bring this up?
Jaye's brother Aaron (played by the awesome and crushworthy Lee Pace) is a theologian with several degrees in various religious studies, pursuing a PhD in comparative religion. He's a philosophical genius and hardcore atheist, never confused by any existential problem. Until he realizes his sister has received instructions from a porcelain cow creamer. And, well, watch the video:
I've always found Aaron's existential crisis scenes kind of hilarious, especially when he declares "meaninglessness in a universe with meaning...what does it mean?"When I rewatched the episode today, though, I found it less funny and more relatable.
I'm used to constantly questioning. I think that's a little of what life is about, the never ending search for meaning. I know what it's like to have a serious philosophical quandary and have someone laugh and respond with, "Are you high?"
Is it that weird to want to know what something means?
So one of the reasons I started rewatching Wonderfalls this week is because it's light and funny. But I also chose this specifically because it's about someone I find myself relating to.
Jaye Tyler is a graduate of Brown University, a writer, a philosopher. She's also a massive underachiever and misanthrope. She's lazy, sarcastic, and runs from every challenge, much more the type to stick her fingers in her ears and yell "lalalalalalalalalalala" than to hear a lecture.
Now, I don't really relate to any of these things. The thing I find familiar is that she's post-college, the youngest of three kids, living on her own but still very attached to her family, and very, very confused about what life's going to bring.
This week, I turned 24. For some reason, I've always placed an odd significance on this age. I remember being a little kid and telling my mom that 24 is the perfect year to be a grown-up. You know, get a job, get married, live in a house with a slide instead of a staircase because duh.
But now, I'm 24. And I don't feel any closer to achieving anything than when I first got my acceptance letter to grad school. I know what I want out of life, which I guess is a pretty big thing. I know what I'm studying to become. I'm also living my life according to a philosophy/religion I find true meaning in. But I've also been having an uncommonly tough time with it this semester. And when I watched the scene with Aaron and the cow creamer, I think I figured out why.
Because I believe that life has meaning. I believe the meaning's out there, I just haven't found it yet, and I'm comfortable with the idea that I may never find it, that it might not be meant for human beings to understand. But that also leads me to believe that MY life has meaning, and that's something I probably AM meant to figure out and understand for myself. And that's where we hit a hitch.
I know what I WANT my life to mean. I know what my skills are, and I'm trying my best to utilize them in order to achieve that meaning. But then again, I'm also a confused post-college intern who can't seem to find what she's looking for. Instead, I've been finding out a lot of things about human behavior that I never wanted to know.
I feel like I've figured out what's wrong, made the doctor's appointment, and now I'm just in the waiting room, looking at my watch and wondering when I'll receive treatment. I feel like anything I get now is just a magazine or a text message to pass the time.
I'm 24 years old, and I've just left some things I really liked having behind and turned to a new, very scary world I'm not sure I like at all. But I can't stick my fingers in my ears and yell "lalalalalalalala." I see people everywhere doing just that. I want to hear the advice. I want to hear the cow creamer tell me what I should do, just to get going to where I know I want to be.