Thursday, June 27, 2013

Into Others' Lives

One of my favorite things about my life is getting the chance to learn about other peoples' lives. I love getting to peer into what other people go through on a day to day basis. There are uncountable ways to live a life and I get a great deal of pleasure of seeing what other people go through. 

One of the ways I like to do this is through documentaries. Even though I'm only viewing someone's life through the tiny window of a t.v. or computer I'm still getting exposure that I might not otherwise have the chance to get. You may have read my post before about the high school called D.C. Met, in Washington D.C. Watching that I got to learn about the challenges that kids in that area must face. When we know more about each other we can be more accepting of our differences. 

Last week my obsession was learning what it's like to be a Navy sailor on a U.S. Aircraft carrier. PBS ran a documentary series called Carrier back in 2008. You may remember it. I remember it being on at the time but never took the time to watch it all. While digging through Hulu shows I found it last week and couldn't stop watching for the entire duration of the crew's six months at sea. I was so intrigued at what can go on at this city on the sea. And watching the jets take off and land on the flight deck is just plain cool! But as cool as it may seem, the 5,000 people spending six months at at time making sure the ship actually goes have a lot of work on their hands. Seeing them in action greatly makes you appreciate what they do. 

After I watched the 10 episodes of that I wanted something new to learn about. That's when I found Circus, another documentary series ran on PBS a few years ago. Now I'll get to look into the lives of those who
literally ran away and joined the circus.

There is so much reality t.v. out there, and I'm not sure I can put this in that category. We've all seen Wife Swap or Trading Spouses, where we've seen people very different from each other live a different life. In a hour's time we've seen the perfect beginning and end all wrapped up. What well made documentaries like these do are examine lives from many sides and don't aim just to entertain you but educate you. They dig deeper and show you what's real.

It's not likely that I'll ever work aboard an aircraft carrier or perform in a circus, but with the beautiful power of documentary film, I can at least see what it might be like.