Thursday, April 30, 2009


So last week I turned off the TV. This is not really an unusual thing: I turn off the TV all the time, usually forty minutes or so after I turn it on. Last week, though, the sucker stayed off. I even unplugged it, in case of overweening temptation.

(I've discovered that one of the best weapons to deploy in the service of thwarting a vice is another vice: a little laziness will go a long way toward preventing me from inhaling seventeen bags of chocolate chips. Or in this case, the Five O' Clock Weather Update.)

Yes, it was TV Turn-Off Week, and the Aphaeresis household signed on with a soupcon of trepidation and a sh**load of self-righteousness. I was going to love life without TV! (Or, more accurately, without the DVDs of TV I order through Netflix because commercials make me crumudgeonly.) I was going to sing and dance and frolic through my freed up time! Loosed from the demonic tractor beam of the television, I would discover new hobbies, finish my novel, cure cancer, etc.! And still be in bed by 10!

In actuality, I was in bed by 9:30, which was kind of nice. Also nice was the quiet of the evenings, the slower pace at which they unfolded. The light lasts a long time at this time of year in Indiana, and without the TV, I saw each gradation, every stair of the flight down to dark. I read a little more. I listened to the radio and played a board game or two.

But productive? I was as productive as a furloughed auto worker on dope. And I think I've figured out why. After a long, hard slog at work, TV offers you a mental respite, a secluded lot in which you can park your conscious self while the rest of you makes out in the back seat. Freed from TV, I promptly sought out alternative places to park the noggin: trashy novels, crossword puzzles, cookbooks...

We need some time to sit and not think. TV turnoff week merely reminded me that I can choose how to get it.

No comments: