Saturday, September 09, 2006

From Couch Potato to Bibliophiliac

Interesting revelations have been happening since I took the advice of the Kill Your Television bumper stickers. For one, I haven't had withdrawal. I thought I'd miss it but I really don't. I've caught some TV now and then at friends' houses and I can honestly say I am not missing much. (There was that Project Runway marathon I got sucked into while on vacation at the beach but I've managed to get back on the wagon.) For the most part it's useless drivel - especially whatever passes for "News" nowadays. I'm not knocking all shows. I like to be entertained as much as the next person, but I'm now doing it via Netflix where I can choose the timing of when to watch it and also avoid the ads.

What I have also come to discover was how much TV had control over me. First of all it had control over my time. I would often find myself stressed out and even angry if I wasn't going to get home in time to watch "my shows." You know you've had those days where you're sitting in traffic and screaming, perhaps aloud, "Goddamn you people! Green means go! I've got to get home to watch [insert current TV show obsession here]!!!" This stress carried over into my home as well - for instance, trying to wash the dishes during the commercials but not being able to see or hear the TV from the sink therefore running back and forth all soapy, "Is it back on yet?"

Worst of all was when I'd dread that a family member was gonna call. During. My. Show! Doesn't my father KNOW how important Friends/House/CSI/Biggest Loser is? And I'd be short with him just to get off the phone. "Uh huh. Yup. Yeah, job's good. Boyfriend's good. Yup. Weather, good. Check. Nothing else going on. Gotta go! Bye!" The only time I was a good daughter and called him was as a preemptive strike to make sure we talked that week when something crappy was on, or it was before 8pm, Prime Time. That's a pretty sad way to conduct a relationship.

One thing I do not miss are all the ads. I have not had a single craving for fast food in the last two months. I've almost forgotten about it. I also don't get many magazines, and I've been listening to books on tape instead of the radio so nothing has forced itself into my consciousness to buy, buy, buy! I've almost cut advertising completely out of my life. I realized how insidious it is recently while at the gym reading a Vanity Fair that was lying around. I saw an add for shoes, very spiky, high heeled, haute couture shoes and thought, "Wow, those are nice. They look sexy. I'd like a pair." This despite the fact that I don't even like high heels. I'm even currently trying to move to all flats to protect my pelvic girdle, knees, and tootsie wootsies. But the glossiness, the sexiness, the very "you must have this" aura of the ad sucked me in.

I will say that a few years down the road when the new edition of Trivia Pursuit comes out I am going to be hopelessly out of touch with the Entertainment catrgory and, hell, even current events. I did break down and subscribe to Time recently just so I can at least know a little bit about what is going on in the world. Plus, it makes great bathroom reading.

All in all, without TV I feel less stress. I feel like I have more time to do other things. One of those other things is reading. I have become a book whore. I can't get enough. I am literally in the process of reading or listening to a total of seven, yes seven, books. I have one in the bedroom(The Stone Diaries), one in the bathroom (A Brief History of Nearly Everything) (which will have to move to accommodate Time), two on my table for meal reading (Getting things Done and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive- my boss is having me read this one), one at work (Not Buying It) , one CD in my car (A Very Long Engagement), and one at Friendster Guy's (Stranger in a Strange Land). I would never have thought I would be able to keep track but I can. Instead of the plots and characters of 4 shows every night for 5 nights and some on the weekend (that's about 20 programs), I only have to keep track of 7. So actually, I've downsized!

A year ago I couldn't have imagined saying this but you should think about killing your TV. It's worth it. And for unexpected reasons.


Shell said...

Oh, dude, you don't need a dead TV! You just need TiVo! It eliminates almost every problem you outline here. It's miraculous.

DecemberFlower said...

I would, purely for cost reasons, if cable wasn't included in my rent.

I'd be disappointed to miss out on Lost and Battlestar Galactica. Those are the only two shows I really watch anymore.

NinjaMama said...

I am a TV killer veteran.

7 years, no TV. (except during the Olympics in Salt Lake City)

I have 4 kids. Major pressure from them, but worth it.

You are correct about all of it but add the benefits to kids lives and minds and the act of killing your TV mulitply by a factor too high to define.

My 12 year old actually told me (in a moment of clarity) that he was glad we don't have TV. He can't get his friends to do anything else besides TV and Video games when he is at thier house. He gets bored.