Sometimes, my roommates act like I’m crazy. They like to make fun of me because I fall asleep during movies and shows, and can’t actually remember anything I see on TV.
Originally, I quit watching cable TV because I moved out of my parents’ house and into my own apartment, which wasn’t cheap. I simply couldn’t afford it. Besides, I had a lot of DVDs (thanks, Dad), and I love reading and writing, and don’t need much other entertainment.
It’s now been nearly three years since I had consistent access to mainstream TV. Of course I could rent any number of shows or use Hulu or whatever it’s called, but over these past three years, TV has become exceedingly unimportant in my life. Part of the reason I loved TV when I was a kid was that I didn’t do anything. I went to school, came home, watched TV until my dad got home, went to a softball field to pitch, came home, did my homework, went to bed. TV filled that void between tasks that had to be completed in my life. In fact, it was the only part of my day that wasn’t a task that had to be completed. Nowadays, I love the things I’m doing. Even when I’m overwhelmed with coffee appointments, grading papers, keeping up the blog, working on the manuscript, praying, going to church, planning Bible study, etc… I love my life. I love that I’m doing things that are meaningful and that I don’t view it only in terms of tasks to be completed. Granted, there’s a task-like element to how I view things, but most of what I do is stuff that I look forward to. Today, I spent 5 hours or so with Friend Lauren and Baby Button. We got coffee (and I totally cried in front of her) and we went shopping for Christmas stuff for Danny and a few other people. I came home and spent time with Roommate Amy. I talked to Shasta on the phone for a few minutes, though our conversation was cut short. I went for a walk with the roomies. It’s been a really good day. Tomorrow, there are at least 3 and possibly 4 things I’m looking forward to, and none of those is TV.
The reason I’m currently thinking about TV is because Roommate Amy bugged me until I agreed to watch a few episodes of 30 Rock with her this evening… and I wish I hadn’t done it. It’s not that 30 Rock was a bad show. It’s just that after 3 years of not watching TV, I’m sensitized to everything. Jokes about heart attacks remind me of my dad. Jokes about sad singleness remind me of every single girl I’ve ever gotten coffee with and of my friend who bought a wedding dress even though there’s no wedding on the horizon. Everything the show made light of pierced me. Body image issues, homosexuality, lying, cheating – it reminded me of how I hate to have my picture taken and what it felt like when I figured out that my dirtbag was cheating on me. And the show made light of it all. There wasn’t a serious moment to be had.
Sometimes it’s easier to laugh than it is to cry, but oughtn’t we to cry anyways?
Over the years, I’ve gotten rid of bunches and bunches of DVDs that I thought had an unhealthy impact on me – Pretty Woman and The Other Bolyn Girl for romance/sensuality, Traffic for violence, even a baseball movie or two because they put me into self-glorifying softball Katie mode. But I’m sort of getting tired of censoring myself. I don’t like leaving Amy to watch TV alone when she clearly wanted someone there with her, but TV too central to the things we do. It changes the way I think about things. It makes me ADHD so that I can’t sit quietly. It changes my beliefs about what’s good and righteous in the world, and what’s worth fighting for.
It changes me.