My YouTube Spring Break

Steve Schirra

I spent my Spring Break on strict bedrest after being diagnosed with mono. My friends were lying on warm beaches, and I was at home, playing on my laptop. All was not lost, however, as I spent my spring break getting to know Nora.

Nora is a slightly overweight, 24-year-old woman with untamed brown hair and large oval glasses. Her favorite foods are corn dogs and veggie stir-fry. She has an irresistibly cute cat named Patty, and she takes a pill before going to work because the particles in the air upset her allergies.

I have never met Nora – in real life that is. I met her virtually on YouTube.

YouTube is an online video community, located at YouTube.com, where users can upload short video clips to share with others, and it was through browsing this site that I came across a video of Nora eating a corn dog. I watched her swirl the entree in a yellow and red pool of ketchup and mustard and take a large bite.

I thought, why would anyone feel the need to record a video like this?

I viewed another. This time, Nora was in church choir practice, quietly watching others sing the hymn “Only This I Want” because she didn’t know the words.

I became captivated. There was something reassuring in watching Nora live her life while I was barricaded in my room with an illness. I was like Jimmy Stewart in “Rear Window,” only instead of watching my neighbors with binoculars, I was using my computer to watch a stranger silently read a novel to herself.

Each day, Nora updated her YouTube site with her goings-on – walking to the bank, brushing her teeth, feeding her cat – and I watched loyally. I realized this was reality TV at its finest.

I wondered if I was the only one who had a Nora addiction. After clicking around some more, I learned there were dozens of others, just like me, who couldn’t get enough. Some even posted videos of themselves watching Nora.

One woman named Colleen admitted to other fans in a video blog that she spends about an hour a day watching Nora videos. She said instead of doing college homework, paying her bills or making dinner, she watches Nora eat corn dogs, go to a soup dinner, brush her hair and powder her feet.

“On top of that,” she said, “Now I’m hoarding a video of myself talking about these things that are completely ridiculous in the first place. And yet, I’m still obsessed.”

We all are.

Steve Schirra is a junior English major and the Forum editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]