I stumbled across something the other day sifting through YouTube (you start with a trailer for the new Sherlock season and wind up watching a hedgehog dance across a table). Trends, especially those related to vine, typically don’t impress me. The string of Harlem shake videos a while back, the John Cena vines last year, they’re all fine, and it’s fun to reference them, but in my opinion they’re beyond over-rated. I don’t usually get sucked into a string of themed videos. But for the first time in a very long time, one caught my undivided attention. And it started with a shopping cart.
The video opens with this guy (at least I assume by his voice and his back, because that’s all you ever see) standing in the middle of a parking lot with, you guessed it, a shopping cart in front of him. He takes the handle, pushes it down the parking lot, and the camera follows its path as it rolls directly into the cart stocks they have in front of grocery stores. I’ll admit, I cheered along with the camera man. It was just so smooth, like a basketball that’s all net, a hole in one on a golf course, getting your locker combination right on the first try. It was personally satisfying.
Clicking out of the video showcased all of the seemingly random suggested clicks in the side bar, none of them looking to have any relation to the video I had just watched, but it’s the internet, so I picked one anyway.
Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.
These videos ranged from pouring coffee creamer to watch the smoky clouds billow to the surface to a ball being dropped through a pipe that fit it’s size to a tee, and while none of them made a lick of sense, I couldn’t make myself stop. I was irrationally obsessed. I spent two hours watching people ice cakes. Two hours. I don’t understand how it happened.
Apparently, these are all part of the new five-minute-famous “Oddly Satisfying” trend. The idea focuses around videos that capture stupidly simple occurrences, like slicing an apple (I kid you not, that was one of the videos; it was really cool, too, the knife was cutting the slices so thin they were almost transparent, like dragonfly wings, it was incredible), plastering them across the internet so morons like me can watch them. And watch them. And watch them.
What makes these so addicting? Obviously they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but…well, why are they anyone’s cup of tea? There’s a reason they’re called “oddly satisfying”…you don’t know why they make you feel so content–it’s downright weird. Right?
I have a theory. Feel free to disagree, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with finding comfort in these videos because they’re highlighting the simple, basic, most elementary joys of life. Life, as we all know, doesn’t like to go your way. In fact, it seems to revel in throwing you for a loop, over a hill, spinning through a few corkscrews, and screeching to a halt (Banshee style). People aren’t perfect, and nothing we do, no matter how hard we try, ever seems to quite reach “flawless.” So when we see something done so expertly, pulled off without a hitch, when there are these small things that you can count on to happen the exact same way, every single time, no matter the conditions, it’s satisfying. It reassures, at least for me, the idea that perfection is out there, it’s just hiding in smaller things we do every day.
So yeah, I smiled when I saw the shopping cart. I felt better when I watched them ice the cakes, and it still makes my day when I can hear the crisp, clean, consistent pop of a Snapple cap. Sometimes you need little things to count on when you feel you can’t count on anything else.