Friday, 17 July 2009

Box-set repercussions

I am forever berating myself for not getting enough done in a day. It was bad enough when I had a regular structure and real-life objectives immortalised in my monthly appraisals. These days I generally force myself to get up – no one’s going to fire me if I don’t – and make an improbably long ‘To Do’ list in order to assure self that I’m putting every last second of my abundant free time to good use. Never works. Never end up ticking everything off said list and consequently feel perpetually angered for not working quicker. And I fear I have discovered the root cause of this problem: The Complete Seven Series of the West Wing.

I became a West Wing aficionado late in life – only last December did I begin to flirt with the idea of US politics after the boy bought the entire seven series on DVD – but oh my, I’m four and a half series in and am wholly converted.

President Bartlett and his loyal team of fast-talking, implausibly efficient and oh so beautiful advisors (Rob Lowe is almost indecently attractive) are my heroes. I want to be able to argue my case with the deputy chief of staff, citing a ridiculous amount of legal and political knowledge purely from memory; I want to read an amendment paper and digest the entire thing in two minutes before advising the President on foreign policy; and I want to speak really, really fast using complicated words while walking down White House corridors, and I want to do all this before I have eaten breakfast.

And herein lies the predicament. Every day I am subconsciously trying to emulate these characters. These FICTIONAL characters who deliver their lines to a FICTIONAL President and were created for a FICTIONAL US drama series about the White House and, importantly, get A LOT done in a single day.

Do I need a reality check?

But surely if I’m going to be influenced by any work ethic it should be that of senior White House staff? I mean, is there really anything wrong with imagining that one day I’ll be addressing a room of journalists on the President’s re-election campaign, before influencing a very important decision on international relations with the Middle East? Nah.

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