I’m finally watching Breaking Bad. For my fellow latecomers, it’s a TV show that follows the heart-warming story of a middle-aged chemistry teacher destroying his family as he becomes a drug lord to pay for cancer treatment.
The whole series is set and filmed in Albuquerque, so I keep seeing familiar locations and/or high school drama classmates in every episode. It’s a weird feeling.
People who live in sexy cities like New York experience this all the time, except that their shows are about witty friends or witty cop friends or witty crime scene investigator friends or teenage mutant ninja turtles, and mine is about crystal meth.
I imagine that New Yorkers and Angelenos become desensitized to seeing their landmarks on TV, just like I assume that people called Ashley or Jessica get used to encountering strangers with their names. I, however, am not accustomed to this phenomenon at all.
The combination of gritty, violent intensity and local surroundings is messing with my grip on fiction versus reality. I’m going around with the feeling that something dire and unpleasant has recently happened to me and resulted in amnesia. People ask what I’ve been up to lately, and it seems like I have a lot of important news that I can’t quite recall.
It doesn’t help that I’m also halfway through the last Hunger Games novel, since stories about teenage deathmatches don’t really create a feeling of security.
This pathetic level of limbic system gullibility is why it’s always a bad idea for me to watch horror movies. After five minutes of possessed hotels or masked strangers, I’m positive that those events could repeat at any moment and the next victim will be me. I have to venture out into the farthest reaches of bizarre improbability to find a film that will still let me stay in a house alone within the next six months.
After some harrowing Girl Scout experiences with urban legends (“Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody NONONONONONOIQUITDON’TLETHERGETME!”), I took a lot of comfort in the Snopes.com page debunking them. Then I realized that the site has a whole category for legends that nobody can prove didn’t happen.
Meanwhile, I hear that the words “embarrassingly suggestible” aren’t in the dictionary.