P G Wodehouse, the guy who wrote Jeeves & Wooster, was also a golf obsessive. Amongst a multitude of references to his favoured pastime, he wrote the below.
The man who will go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only the eyes of God are on him, and play that ball from where it lies, is the man that will serve you faithfully and well
Quite asides from golf, the interesting thing about this is the idea of how we act when we know nobody is watching. With the knowledge that only the eyes of God are on us. And whether what we do in these situations differs from how we might act if we knew we were being watched. What do we let ourselves get away with. Would we play the ball from where it lies, or would we shift the ball to an easier spot, from where to lift it seamlessly onto the green.
All human interaction is an act of sorts. If you didn’t bend somewhat to the situation in front of you you’d spend your life hitting metaphorical walls at 100mph. There are people who do this but they tend to have extenuating circumstances like autism. People who bend too far tend to be slightly creepy. When someone is telling you everything you want to hear, you don’t believe a word they say. At the end of the day all we want is honesty and something real. Someone telling you every word you want to hear might be nice, but is slightly confusing.
There used to be an old function on Sky Sports called Player Cam. It gave you the option to ignore the game and just follow a single player of your choice running around the pitch, most of the time nowhere near the ball. It got boring after about three seconds but it did give birth to an idea.
The idea of Player Camming people.
People in the street. Your friends. The idea of watching them when they don’t know they’re being watched. To keep on recording after they think the cameras have stopped rolling. To keep your eyes trained on them when they think only the eyes of God are. Because this is when their guard is down and their act is over, when you get them at their most real. And you see the really weird shit.
Stuff they would never let you catch them doing in any social situation. Watch them while they wait at the bar getting a round of drinks in. Watch them watching tv. Next time you see them in the street stop yourself from bounding up and saying hello. Stalk them for a few minutes. See what they do and how they act. By the end you’ll have a pretty good idea if you still want to bound up and say hello at all.
This is one of the benefits of good friendships. And the greatest benefit of relationships. How they are under God’s watchful eye and how they are with you, become one and the same. You’re let into another person’s world where that person no longer gives a fuck, and is just one hundred per cent themselves to you, day in and day out. No longer trying to impress you, no longer trying to hide themselves from you. They’re so comfortable in your company you might as well not be there, in this situation you really are the equivalent of the eyes of God. Which means you get them all, the whole of them. The bravest and most generous gift they can give. What’s more, the gift is yours. No-one else’s.
What Robin Williams called the good stuff.