Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tune in, Turn off

     I'm typing this post in bright red nail polish, something I never wear.  In fact, I never paint my nails at all.  They range from short and neat, at best, to something reminiscent of a shipwreck victim stranded on a deserted island.  This red nail polish is one of several things that has come of our sacrifice during Lent.  We gave up TV, or at least the bulk of our TV watching.  We've decided to allow ourselves limited access on the weekends to avoid boredom induced spending/eating.  For some people giving up TV wouldn't be much of a big deal.  I understand that.  A lot of people have told me that they're giving up booze.  Their booze is my TV.  I could give up drinking permanently and wouldn't miss it, but I cannot truly imagine what my life would look like with no TV.  Seriously, don't even try to out-TV me.  I've seen it.  Yes, even that.  I love it, commercials and all.  I think the fact that I have such a strong addiction to the tube makes it the perfect thing to sacrifice.  Before last Wednesday, I would have it on all the time, even when I wasn't watching.  I would continue to watch TV well past the point of not finding anything on that interested me.  I would complain about not having time to do any of the things that I wanted to do, but then sit down and watch TV for two and half hours. 
      Now I'm not condemning television.  Oh no, I would never turn on my old friend like that.  TV was my playmate and sibling when the weather was bad growing up and was my entertainment during the almost five years I lived alone.  Whenever I was scared at night, the glow of the TV would calm me down.  As a kid, I couldn't sleep without it on.  Confession:  I was such a wimp that I would leave it on QVC so that no scary shows or creepy commercial music would come on and freak me the hell out.  That's not an exaggeration.  I once got lightheaded I was so terrified by a halloween episode of F Troop on Nick at Night.  I didn't see Bram Stoker's Dracula until I was twenty-four years old, but when I saw the preview at age nine, I slept in a turtle neck for weeks for vampire protection.  I was sure that Jaws was under my bed and that there was a real chance of being sucked into the floor furnace and devoured by what ever made it make noise.  TV was always my way of self-soothing.   There are way worse things that a person could turn into a crutch and, to be fair, I've learned a lot from my old square friend.  Like anything, though, too much of a good thing turns bad.
      My goal after Lent is not to go back to watching TV all the time, but to indulge in moderation. I hope that my filter will be better too.  Like a lot people, I've watched so much reality TV that I'm desensitized to a lot of the trash.  Enjoying a little trash TV here and there is more than fine by me, but I think the old expression "garbage in, garbage out" is true.  If I ate food as often and of the same substantive value as the television I watch I think I'd probably look like Chet from Weird Science. The problem is that no one who spends so much passive time is that interesting.  There are a ton of productive, entertaining things I could be doing during the week, I just don't know what they are yet.  So far I've painted my nails, polished the silver, and organized the closet.  We did a cross-word puzzle and have eaten more meals at the table.  I've amped up my status as a hot tea enthusiast.  I've been reading outside of what I usually do before bed.  So far I'm pleased with the results.  So long as I don't use all this extra time to overpluck my eyebrows or start drinking, I think I'll be a better person for it. 

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