Monday, May 24, 2010

Can't We Just Watch When We Want?

I cannot escape the television.

Many of you know we opted for a television-free home a few years ago. The longer we are without, the more I feel relieved and removed from all that television offers. But choosing to evict tv from our home has by no means evicted tv from our lives.

We cannot escape it,
wherever we go;
not in the produce aisle,
not at the checkout stand,
not at the bank,
not at the furniture store,
not at the restaurant,
not at the library.

In the two and a half minutes I waited in the checkout line at Fresh Market the other day, I was shown a new recipe and several home improvement projects that could transform my house. As if strategically placing a Cosmo magazine in front of my face (or worse, my children's face) were not enough, somebody thinks I just can't make it through the line peaceably without placating my wanton behavior, which is so obviously threatening to the cashier. I am known to accost the person behind the register every now and again with a sinister "Hi, how are you today?"

Trying to have a pleasant dinner with Matthew on a rare date night, I had to work diligently to block out the THREE television screens broadcasting different programs within my view. We must have chosen the wrong restaurant.

Maybe people are afraid to be alone together. Maybe television is thought to mitigate the terrible social awkwardness of actually speaking to each other, whether it be the few moments we transact in money with a stranger, the hour we spend on a date with an unfamiliar person, or the hour we spend on a date with a spouse of ten years.

I don't need a television screen behind the librarian to help me feel good about patronizing my local library.

A tv in the lobby does not compel me to trust one particular bank over another.

And I can jolly well select apples without the Food Network plying their wares over my head.

What I could have used was a television screen somewhere inside the plane that flew six long, silent hours from Phoenix to Philadelphia. My grocery store produce aisle wants to hook me with media in the 23 seconds I spend choosing onions, but US Airways is totally uninterested in securing my patronage with a media cocktail even when they have me cornered for six hours. If anyone should be interested in placating wanton behavior, it should be the airlines.


2 comments:

Jenn said...

My mother-in-law has EIGHT tvs in her tiny basement apartment. And they are always on NASCAR. It drives me crazy.

Loved "media cocktail"

Curtis "Curtis" Wiederhold said...

Amen! You might find this article interesting, it touches a bit on the effects of TV on our society. http://chronicle.com/article/The-End-of-Solitude/3708