I love Mad Men.
In the episode last night. Don sits in a tuxedo at a diner, and tells a real story of growing up in a whorehouse. It is a simple story, but it stands for so much more. Not only has Don come clean about the past he ran from, and then denied. He can now tell stories about it. He has accepted it, and in accepting it can cherish the funny parts. Roger interrupts the laughing girls. “Don loves to tell stories about how he used to be poor, but he’s not anymore” Roger doesn’t have any stories like that. And he envies Don for it.
That little moment was seven seasons in the making.
Later in the episode Don goes into his office, and tells his secretary to wake him up in an hour. Because he’s going to sleep. Or lie down on the couch and stare aimlessly at the ceiling. In earlier seasons, Don had to run away when he had nothing to do. He didn’t tell anyone he was just going to the movies because he had no ideas. He kept this schroud of mystery around everything. But no more. Now, after seven seasons, Don just tells his girl, I’m going to go take a nap. In my office. Because that’s what I want to do.
Mad Men is the only show, only anything I’ve ever seen where a guy just sits in his office because he has nothing to do. Where a guy just sits at a diner counter becuase, as he tells the waitress, I just want to sit here for a while. Don Draper has reached a point where for moments he escapes the brutal, endless rat race. He doesn’t need to be busy. He doesn’t need to show other people how busy he is. He can just take a nap. Just because.
As an actor, there is often nothing much to do. It’s pretty easy to work for free, and tempting to fill your day with free work as an incantation to attract the paying stuff. Well, I say no to that. I, like Don Draper, sometimes have nothing to do for an entire morning. May I have the courage to not hide it.