[This post was started on January 31, 2011.]
I’m watching Chuck. I don’t watch this religiously, and it’s easy to pick up if I miss a few or several episodes. I find it endearing. It hits the action, spy, and campy love stories. I enjoyed watching TV as a kid, and always had the lineup of my favorites. Then, I got older and TV became less important. Movies, in some form, were always a constant. Soon, I moved out on my own, and I found myself, like many young people, with meager belongings. I didn’t have a television. I was fine, though, because I did have my radio – and that was my connection to the outdoor world.
I have blogged about this topic before (TV Confessions of a New Mom), but it rarely fails to fascinate. My mom used to chime, often, “Garbage in, garbage out,” an accusation on why we shouldn’t watch TV or certain TV. I’m sure my mom was flabbergasted that as a 13-year-old girl, all I wanted was (the original) Beverly Hills 90210.
Well, now as an adult different desires for TV watching transpire. As a child, I felt like I was cool if I was able to keep up with the cool TV watching. Some shared in that desire, and we’d swap entertaining stories about the latest punch line. Some didn’t, and I failed to be cool like I thought I was able to be, by watching TV! Now, as an adult, though, I watch TV for different reasons. Sometimes it’s art. Sometimes it’s education. Sometimes it’s a distraction.
Mostly, it’s distraction. I’ve written before about how tiresome balancing these roles has become. As such,sometimes instead of writing, I watch TV. Back again are the lineups. Back again are the pontifications. But, mostly, it’s about the brain drain. It’s about not thinking.
I don’t have to make any choices, expect which show I want to watch when. And, since our lineup has been minimized, we have gone to borrowing our favorite shows (Burn Notice, Leverage, and Psych) from the library. Now, we can have our “date night Saturday nights” however we’d like them and in what order.
The pattern is, get up, quickly get ready for school, encourage the kiddo to eat, make lunches, put on make up, rush out the door by 7:40 am. Providing we’ve all rushed around together, we make the family trip to drop Levi off at school. We switch, so I drive the husband back home, then I take off for work. The desired arrival time is 8:10 am.
Then it’s work, work, work. I generally work through my lunches, but once or twice a week take an extended lunch to dine with a friend or testify for City Council. Then, I finish up work between 5 pm and 5:20 pm, rush to get the kiddo by the 6 pm cutoff. We race home, and have an hour for dinner activities, before an hour for bedtime activities. As soon as 8p hits – my brain is dead. I’m tired of having a polite smile on my face. I’m tired of being patient. I’m tired of measuring my words. I’m tired of thinking before I speak. I’m tired of forcing smiles on my face when I’d rather scream. I’m tired of considering laundry. I’m tired of thinking about what has to be done before the night is done. I look around at all the obligations, and it just makes me more tired.
And, on those days, a good fiction in the form of moving pictures on the TV is all I want. And, as an adult, making a cognizant choice to numb my brain – I think that’s okay. There are so many more opportunities for thinking, for feeling, exchanging community building, and growing – that my nightly ritual of dumbing down… it’s a-okay.
And, now, I’m learning, it’s an introverts way. Maybe not TV specifically, but the absolute need of refreshing. We express so much energy interacting, that quiet time, alone, refreshes us so that we can be chipper and friendly to do it all over again the next day.
So, that’s why TV has its place. It helps me refresh in this crazy world with too many obligations and conflicting priorities. It helps me think of nothing else than fictional bombs blowing up while our favorite former CIA guy goes around rescuing the under-served A bit of hope in a world where it’s not always clear who will be the good guy and where the winners are.