May 15, 2018

last night's episode

My co-workers are talking right now about a television series that they both watch each week, excitedly exchanging "did you see the part where ..." and "oh my god, I can't believe he ..." and speculations about how the plot will advance.  There are in-depth, psychoanalytical discussions about various characters.  It's like General Hospital being discussed over lunch salads.

Television is another opiate that just doesn't draw me.  Why?


I admit I might be in the wrong here.  What would be so bad about spending several hours a day leaving chores undone and drowning myself instead in the intake of what amounts to virtual reality?  To be lost in it and taken out of my own ever-present head?  And what is the difference between a fictional character from a television program and a fictional character from a book?  Both can come to life, be analyzed, be admired or feared or loathed.

I used to watch, twenty, eighteen, seventeen years ago.  I watched Seinfeld and The X-Files and The Simpsons.  And then I just lost interest altogether.  It wasn't a conscious or principled choice to stop watching television.  Even sports.  I used to be able to get into a football or basketball game and shout and cheer and be completely immersed in it.  Now I don't see what the fuss is all about.  It's annoying background noise.

I think we turned off our Cable TV about ten years ago.  I'm pretty sure.  I haven't noticed, to be honest.  We have a television and it lives in the basement and it stays turned off.  For that matter, when we bought our Lodge, it came with three large televisions, already wall-mounted, and only one is used (for the PlayStation/man cave arrangement, which reminds me that we bought a soundproofing curtain and I need to bring a hack saw so we can trim the metal thingie used to hang it up because we didn't measure correctly).  The other two already have trinkets and candles and flower arrangements in front of them.

I'm not alone.

I don't have anything against people watching television, then or now.  It's just that caring about television is foreign to me, and I can't identify with the people who always want to bring up, "Hey, remember that commercial where ... ?"  I look at them blankly and said, "No."  They say, ".... oh.  Um, okay.  Never mind."  Or better yet, "You really need to see it, it's got a gay couple in it."  That means I would fully identify with a character and the story would somehow alter my life forever, because I'm gay and they're gay.  No.  What it really means is that when people look at me, they think about television show characters instead of seeing me, the person in front of them.

Why?

I miss most movies now, too.  I've a friend who has made at least a dozen recommendations of you-must-watch-this-by-week's-end movies that I would totally love and that would make me howl with laughter, and I half-heartedly tell him I'll try, but we both know I'm not going to watch them.  I believe him.  I really do.  But my life isn't movie-shaped.  There isn't a window of two hours when I could sit down and watch, and if there was, watching television or a movie is the very last thing that would occur to me.  My brain scans the area instead for "what needs to be done?" and finds something.  That is how I keep going.  I stay useful.

I say again, I could be wrong for not accepting the drugs.  Sometimes I suffer and maybe I wouldn't have to suffer as much.  It still isn't any sort of staunchly held principle.  I just wonder .... why?

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