It seemed perfectly reasonable to buy a Smart TV for ourselves as a “housewarming gift” when we got this apartment. The Smart TV was soon followed by a subscription to Netflix, which was soon followed by a subscription to Comcast with On Demand. Which was soon followed by my understanding of the phrase binge watching.
Medium with Patricia Arquette is seven seasons long. Californication, seven seasons. Foyle’s War, George Gently, Dr. Who, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Walking Dead, Penny Dreadful, The White Queen … number of seasons vary. Orange is the New Black, Sense8, Hemlock Grove, Orphan Black …
There was a time that I read no less than two novels and upwards of 500 pages of scholarly text per week, attended three-four classes, did yard work, and held down a full-time job. This past three years I’ve run out of school funding, worked less than twelve months full-time, and lived in rentals with little yard maintenance required.
Sometimes I get so involved in the shows that I forget past aversions to so many hours with the boob tube. The boob tube is my friend. Family, really. A font of information, entertainment, inspiration. The boob tube content can now be live streamed through my computer. Technology is wonderful. Sarah Manning is such a complex and delicious character — a fiction writer’s dream — but the deus ex machina is getting to be a bit much. I want to know the story behind the story of Sense8. Who is this amazing writer? Where did they find such fabulous actors! I want to have an hour long conversation with Wolfgang.
And then I remember.
It’s still the boob tube. Sure it’s an amazing 21st century version that has taken gratuitous violence and sex and human troubles to a mind-blowing yet completely relevant level of artistry …
During moments of clarity I fear that I am wasting my life, my own creativity and intelligence, and I wonder if the human spine was built to withstand so many hours in this position. During moments of clarity that are soon followed by obsessive worry and guilt, I wonder what I could do without TV. Sure, I make some fairly cool ink doodles when listening to the growls and screams and horrible insights of Miss Ives, and I got my office completely cleaned and organized during three episodes of Orange is the New Black, but …
Butt. Maybe I could walk more. Exercise.
I’ll just leave that thought there for a while. Come back to it later.
I could finish the research and revisions for that essay I started in 2013 — the one Professor L.G. liked so much and suggested that I should send it off for publication ASAP. This could be the cornerstone piece of a lengthy memoir … I could do a lot of research. That used to be fun, to read and make notes for days until an argument for or against a specific topic formed in my mind.
I could start a container garden on my patio. Maybe repaint the cheap little chairs out there that pine sap is totally destroying.
TV hasn’t really taken away from online reading, revising my resume, sending out said resume, applying for jobs, or getting the evening meals prepared. My dog doesn’t really mind waiting until the end of an episode to go out for his walk, or a trip to get the mail. He is very understanding. And I’m fairly certain he is aware of the difference in my TV schedule on the days when the hubby is home. On these days, sports programs, investigative reporting, mysteries and historical documentaries dominate the airwaves (not sci-fi and dirty comedies). It is on these days that the pup dawdles outside over cat trails and mysterious fallen branches, and slyly gauges my level of attention before deciding whether or not to attempt digging holes.
It’s too bad I didn’t have my IQ tested prior to welcoming the Smart TV into the living room. If so, I could retest now and either set my occasional worries at ease or have a valid point to make if I chose to form an argument for trading the flat screen in for a radio. As of now I have no proof that the brain power has diminished, but there is obvious evidence of attention span deterioration.
I haven’t written a new poem in months. What did I do with that notebook?