There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?
I watched The Office for the first time with my old friend Heidi who told me she had started watching a show that made her think of me. This was right at the time the second season DVDs had been released and were on one of those really good sales at Target. She got the first two seasons and persuaded me to come over after lunch. We smoked a bit, out of a hookah with peach-flavored tobacco since we were 19 or so, and put on the first disc.
“It starts a little slow,” she said. “Give it a few episodes.”
She wasn’t wrong but it had me from the start and not just because I was a little bit stoned. We watched for the next day and a half, ordering pizza when we were hungry and climbing into bed and couch respectively when we were tired. We called another good friend of ours to join us and she jumped in where we were. I can’t tell you when it grabbed me, maybe it was something desperate that Michael said or the simple joy of seeing Dwight’s stapler in jello but I was in. I still have never laughed as hard as I did watching “The Injury” for the first time and I’m not sure I ever will. We watched the next two seasons together every Thursday and when I moved away, I introduced my BFF to the show and kept watching.
I haven’t watched The Office since the end of season 7, a season which was already testing my patience with a show that I loved so much. I cry about most things because I have all the feelings and because I went to therapy and dealt with the things that kept everything I felt inside. This show was one of the few things to make me cry before I could cry at the things going on in my actual life. I cared about these people, these fictional but regular people, in a way I couldn’t really let myself care about people in my life. It became a conduit for this while I continued to grow. I stopped watching after season 7 because things had changed, because I had changed, but it never made me mad that it had changed; it was a weird, forever home for me in a way.
I feel this way about Tumblr. It started off as a place for me to put writing from a workshop I was taking, an archive of sorts and it became this passage to the rest of my life. I put myself out there for the first time in a long time, in just a small way, but it was enough to start something. It made me start really writing, it made me be ok with people reading the things I write, it gave me the opportunity to write for places I never would have considered beforehand. It helped me deal with things until I couldn’t do it alone and then it helped me go to therapy. It led me to meet some of my dearest friends, including my best friend. It led me to my husband, for Christ’s sake. It led me to explore art and culture and feminism and so many things that have made me a better person, the person I am today.
It wasn’t all great, of course. It also introduced me to awful people, rude people, clamoring people who made lots of things feel worse than they had to. Tumblr changed and fluctuated and we changed and fluctuated along with it. It has been a place that has documented the best parts and the worst parts and the most random, drawn from mindlessness parts of all of us. I don’t use it the way I did in the past and I have a different relationship to it now but I can’t deny that it’s a huge catalyst in how I grew into who I am now. It’s not really good or bad, it sort of just is. And this is how I feel about The Office, after all is said and done about its progress or lack thereof; it’s pretty consistently inconsistent because it’s primarily about people. It lives and breathes and fucks up and changes like we all do.
I watched the last few episodes of The Office because I had to. Of course, I had to! I fell in easily with the people I grew to know so well and caught up with them at the end of their documentary journey. I cried, more easily and with less conflicted feelings than I used to cry when watching TV and movies, and I watched as these characters, these people, that I’ve watched for years became whoever it is they were going to be; I cannot tell you how much I cried at finding out that Michael finally got the big family he always wanted, that Jim and Pam were going to take this big chance together. My heart felt so strangely full at seeing where these people are now: in better places for some, in the same cycles for others. It was so good to see all of it and I couldn’t feel anything but love for it despite the fact that it’s not the show it used to be. It changed but then so did I.
I didn’t expect to react as strongly as I did to the finale because I’d been removed from The Office for a while. It wasn’t until I was presented with this evidence of not only how far this show has come that I could really fathom where I’ve been and gotten to in the past several years as well. I feel so much the same but I know that I’m not, that I’ve changed in ways that you can only look back and realize after the fact. It’s why Tumblr changing doesn’t matter or why The Office ending doesn’t feel like something being over; what counts, the time you’ve spent and the way you’ve grown as a result of something, never really ends in the ways that matter.
Everything I have I owe to this
job blog show…this stupid, wonderful, boring, amazing job blog show.
So, thanks to a TV show and a blogging platform for helping me get to wherever it is I’ve gotten to; I like it (and me) a lot.
That’s what she said.