Homebodies, this column is for you. If “staying in is the new going out” (Young, 2016) then it is time for a backlash. Yes, you need to catch up on your shows; but why should fantasy characters get to have all the fun getting pummeled by zombies or kidnapped by sterile rich folk or having their intestines sucked out by space aliens? Make some drama of your own in the dimension of what I like to call Actual Reality. Fantasy is a treatment for mediocrity, not a cure.
I suppose you have valid arguments in your defense. Reality is becoming obsolete, you assert. Besides, you are saving money, creating less pollution, and your social life is better than ever. But your insistence on cloaking yourself with your house is a little like test driving your coffin; you are as a dead person; in the world but not of it.
Fine, don’t be aroused by macabre philosophical jostling, but here's another angle to consider: the facts are in, and being around other humans is just plain better for your health. Social fitness is as important as physical fitness, and the virtual world is not offering these benefits. It’s as if you tried to get vitamins eating a virtual fruit. According to experts, social isolation could be worse for us than smoking. The cure? Go consume some local live original art.
You know what else is good for you? Stepping out of your comfort zone. Creating new pathways in your neural net by expanding your personal experiences will strengthen and protect your brain. Enduring thirty minutes of a disheveled guy on a stage, thrashing a washboard and driving a vacuum cleaner while reciting angry poetry may inspire you in ways you haven’t considered. Maybe you’ll take up the tambourine and the sewing machine. Maybe he’ll utter something you never thought of before.
A related point, since it is also in the spirit of enrichment, is that you can spice up the same old bland smoothie of existence by tossing a little serendipity to the mix. Nothing interesting will happen if you don't get out of the house. Maybe your pipes will burst and you'll build a raft out of electrical cords but the probability of that is low. What stories will you have to tell? About the time you sat on your couch watching Netflix and spilled your beer? About the time you ordered a burger and they left off the pickles? The cure for your uneventful existence? Go consume some local, live, original art.
Not convinced by the health angle? How about an economic one? Local artists are small businesses. They need your support and most of the time it’s cheap. Thousands of great artists, writers, film-makers, poets, musicians; pouring out their souls, struggling to promote themselves despite their melancholy, introverted temperaments, and you probably don't know they exist. Thousands of potential famous people: a treasure chest of gold in plain sight and nobody is paying it any mind. What does it cost to see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway or to score a couple of those Hamilton tickets? The popularity of these performances indicates that you will leave house and pay ridiculous sums for an artistic experience, so I know you like art.
Homebodies, the world needs you. Artists need you. Get out of the house. You may not get pummeled by zombies or kidnapped by space aliens but your brain will thank you and you may even live a longer, healthier life. Be of the world, not just in it. Go consume some live, local, original art.