Five days exposure to television left me feeling like Morgan Spurlock after a few days with his food nemesis Macdonalds.
As regular BGOTR bleaders know, this sometimes ranty blogger has been sans T.V. since last century. Unlike ex-smokers or drinkers I don’t preach ‘no-telly’ I’m just content without it.
Also unlike those groups, I never crave T.V.
I admit to a little frustration with the standard question that has ambushed me on numerous occasions over the last decade and a half when people discover my television-less-ness,
“What do you DO (without a TV)?”
Sometimes I ‘DO’ nothing. Absolutely nothing. Sometimes I sit in my living room on my own and stare into space. It’s rare but wonderful. For the rest I would have to answer with a question - how do they find time to watch T.V.? But that makes people instantly defensive so I stopped. Another knee-jerk reaction when others find out I’m one of those weirdoes, is to say they hardly ever watch T.V. But these reactions tend to fall into the contingent who sees any divergence from how they live as an implied criticism.
But like a lot of other people, if I am in a room with a telly which is on, I find it almost impossible to look away for any length of time no matter what is on.
In the presence of the modern mega screen I am positively intimidated and sense overwhelming relieve if I escape its vortex pull or someone is brave / motivated enough to press the off button.
Last week I spent five days at my mum’s very much in the presence of T.V. By day three I was under the spell; flicking between channels and watching people cook, buy shit, garden and execute throw-away lines with straight or quirky faces in a myriad of sitcoms. And I watched bits of films that I couldn’t get into because of all the ad breaks.
I mean how can you maintain your fantasy involvement or sense of tension or suspend your disbelief if thrills are punctuated with cleaning products; epics are interrupted by women smiling at their gravy? Rom-coms (which are not a fave with me anyway) are side-swiped by people grinning into their mobiles because they just borrowed £1000 they’ll never be able to pay back.
Who would ever guess that mothers in Syria are boiling grass to feed their children?
The people eating crap, processed food are slim, blemish free and full of energy. The people buying rubbish they don’t appear not to be brow beaten by debt; they look ecstatically, manically happy. Shop workers interact and grin and wear remarkably bright smart clothes. The people in cars aren’t in traffic and don’t have slack arses. The people on TV watching TV all look bright eyed and perky not the way I felt – dull, sluggish, sofa-boated and a bit miserable.
Everything is sunny and sparkly and everyone, EVERYONE is smiling.
If you’re not careful a mild paranoia can creep in from the sides as the telly images prod you with your own inadequacy and less than sparkly attention to perfection in all things domestic.
Should my carpet be THAT clean, I mean do I need space age technology just to mop the floor? I feel ashamed of my old mop and bucket.
Something else I haven’t had in over 10 years is contents insurance – mainly because I just don’t have STUFF that breaks and gets nicked – like a ridiculously large expensive, living room obliterating T.V.!!! But apparently if you don’t have contents insurance all kinds of disasters can befall you not least the ceiling may fall in and smash your wide screen telly leaving the entire family staring at the floor unable to view any more insurance ads... YIKES!
I had no idea that you need specific machines to cook different foods. Old-fashioned nutter that I am I just use a hob oven and various pans. Where do people keep all this shit? Don’t get me started on cleaning equipment and unguents – do folk have vast underground bunkers just to store all the T.V. crap?
But I return to the bizzarrity (!) that amongst all this buying and cleaning and borrowing and consulting about sofas and cooking showcase food, everyone, just everyone is happy.
Surely there aint that much Prozac to go round?
One thing was for sure I needed something to pick me up after 5 days exposure.
But when I got home I knew what it was. Just as Mr. Spurlock returned to his Macdonalds-free home and vegan girlfriend, I returned to my clean but not surgically spotless, telly free house.
Recommended blog from the archive for this week
Blog 6. Please get a bigger T.V.