Have you noticed the general state of "enlightenment" in today's vampires? A secular humanistic worldview would posit that, given an eternity to fill, naturally good humans would seek to improve themselves (also seen in the movie Groundhog Day). Since "the new" vampirism has removed the demonic aspects, we are left with extremely long-lived humans, after all, so why not let them be Renaissance undead?
Dracula is the ruler (as in measuring device, not leader) when it comes to vampires, and he did show a certain amount of class. Yes, he was a little behind the times, but he ventured out of his castle when he realized it was stay and perish. Anne Rice's vampires, starting with Louis and Lestat, discovered their vampirism was caused not by a demon but by a spirit that happened to crave blood. It was neither good nor evil, and a man remained what he was before he was infected. Poor Louis. But it did allow vampires who managed to survive more than one human lifetime to adapt and "better themselves."
Nick Knight in Forever Knight, that so-melodramic-but-somehow-hypnotizing-anyway Canadian offering of the 1990's, was 800 years old, spoke multiple languages, played piano and had a hidden fortune of several billion dollars which he used to keep himself in electronic window shades and out of pesky databases. He made excellent use of his immortality, even though he wanted to become mortal again.
We have the vampires of The Kindred, who ran banks and bars and playhouses. They didn't seem to be immortal -just long-lived- but the show only lasted 8 episodes, so who knows? And don't forget Moonlight, another melodramatic, incredibly painful to the ears, short-lived show with vampires who'd been around since Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution. That was the only mildly interesting twist in the whole poorly-written time-waster (yes, I watched every episode).
So, what have we learned by this walk down Hollywood Boulevard? Today's vampires are chic, savvy investors who make excellent use of their endless days by learning a musical instrument and relying on compound interest to line their nest eggs. What you don't see is a vampire on a shrink's couch pouring out his lament about the long, dark teatime of the soul and wondering how many roads must a vampire walk down.
My conclusion? I'd be a lousy vampire. I barely have the motivation to get out of bed some mornings, even on a workday. If given all the time in the world, I wouldn't learn piano or another language. I wouldn't seek to better my eternal self. I'd sit in a recliner and watch QVC until the cable ran out because I forgot to pay the bill.
I would make a great zombie, though. I barely pay attention as it is, and I'm always looking for my next meal. Since I've already determined I'm unlikely to survive a zombie attack, I'll consider this good news.
On a side note, I think of all the Hollywood offerings, Joss Whedon got it closest to what I consider a real vampire - a demon in human form. Demons don't think about the future. Demons don't invest in mutual funds. Demons rip your neck open and drink your blood even if you are the last human on Earth, and they'll starve to death without you. That's what demons do.
So, if we use Joss' vampires, I'd probably do okay because it wouldn't be me trying to fill a potential eternity of laziness. It would be a demon with my memories just moving from meal to meal. But, again, that's pretty much a zombie.
This post is brought to you by a strong determination to procrastinate on beginning revisions of Elementals. I'm making excellent progress so far. Now, where's the remote?