how i feel about television

television by littlehippiegirl
television, a photo by littlehippiegirl on Flickr.

the first time i moved out on my own, it was to a tiny studio apartment in tucson, arizona.  my roommate and i couldn’t afford cheese, let alone television, and for the first time i came to know what it was like to be technologically bereft.  when we finally bought internet and my father showed us how we could get illegal cable, i was almost insulted by the notion.  tv, for me, had not been difficult to give up.  at the time, i was working overnight shifts, and when home during the day was usually sleeping.  the rest of the time was taken up arguing with my roommate and making quesadillas.

after that, each move-out from my father’s house meant another home without television.  i didn’t miss it when i didn’t have it, but when returning to my dad’s to wash laundry, i would park myself in front of the TV at the earliest opportunity and scan every channel before remembering yet again that nothing good is ever on.  thus satisfied, i would go about my business.  only a good movie could get me to sit down on the couch again for more than 5 minutes at a time.

i first moved out when i was twenty, and for the past seven years my TV watching was pretty limited.  i sit down to watch shows sometimes, but i’ve never paid for cable in any apartment i’ve lived in, so my exposure to television has been limited.  i wish i didn’t sound like an elitist turd saying this, but people were always shocked whenever i uttered the fateful words: “i don’t have television.”  i tried to make up for it by watching five or six episodes of a series online in one fell swoop, but even then i missed out on everything that TV supposedly had to offer.  and so, upon coming to live with my mother, i was ill-prepared for what having the TV on in the same room can do to a person.

at my mother’s house, the TV is on all the time.  the only time it isn’t on is when she’s sleeping- after the timer has turned it off- and when my sister or i turn it off ourselves.  she leaves it on when she is not in the room or even in the house, and talks to it when she is in the room, reciting along with the ads.  she says she likes the background noise.  sleeping in the motorhome, i get limited to no internet connection, and so to do my internet things i have to come in the house.  i sit on the daybed while the TV plays in my ear.

it was after i went to the festival and came back with my energies sorted out that i realized how much TV fucks with me.  i was in the living room, feeling sluggish, and decided to do some exercises.  as i exercised i thought i might like something to keep my mind off the boredom of leg lifts, and so i turned on the TV.  every ad made me feel crappier and crappier- the constant plea of “BUY ME!” like the snarl of a hyena, dirty, pathetic, persuasive.  the trend of appealing to emotion in advertising is something that takes a toll on my brain.  every ad either makes me sad or pissed.  watching TV i feel drained, like my brain is being forced to focus on unnatural things.  just watching for half an hour makes me feel anxious and irritable.  TV is pretty much a psychic vampire, i have to say.

so that’s why i don’t watch.  i like keeping control over my own brain and energies.  i am a big proponent of killing your television.  go put your feet in the grass.

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