I Don’t Watch TV, But I’m Not Aggressive About It

Normally when you hear someone say, “I don’t watch TV,” or “I don’t even have a TV,”  they deliver it with a subtext, and I exist on a plane of consciousness that you will never understand.  In a way I understand this subtext as television has a way of numbing us to real life challenges and experience.   Haven’t we all scrolled through the guide of a super-cabled TV and chosen something that we’re not even interested in just because it’s on?  However, I can’t understand the need to declare one’s avoidance of television in casual or unrelated conversation.  No one cares, and I would never alienate people this way.

At this point, I would like to mention that I don’t watch TV, though I volunteer this information with no agenda.  I do own a television with Netflix hooked up to it, and I watch my favorites from the available sampling, commercial free.  I don’t have cable or network TV, mostly because I don’t want to pay for it.  There are so many choices, and I am genuinely interested in about 7% of them, and oh, the commercials.  They are terrible.  I have found that I do not miss network/cable channels or commercials, but there have been consequences, mostly social in nature.

I can’t be terribly concerned about the social consequences, after all, social graces have never been my strong point.  I tell fart jokes at black tie dinners, I cuss and tell sex stories in front of Christians who claim to be above such things, and I will say the wrong thing in any conversation with strangers, unintentionally forcing awkwardness.  There are a lot of conversations to which I cannot relate, and many conversations around me are about television shows that I have not seen and celebrities I have never heard of.  I cannot tell you how disappointed I was when I found out what a Kardashian was.  I will contribute a comment about one of the shows that I watch, and I see all faces fade to blank.  They counter with a King of Queens or Dancing With the Stars reference, and our roles reverse.

Much to ad agencies’ gratification, people converse as much about commercials as about television shows themselves.  Since I do not have access to commercial television, I am unable to appreciate any of these references.  Someone often interrupts me in the middle of a daily task to laugh excitedly and tell me that whatever I just did totally reminds them of a commercial, “you know, the one with the chinchilla and the alligator who are friends?  I think it’s for motor oil?”  I stare at them for a moment like I don’t understand the language they speak, then say something like, “Oh!  No, I haven’t seen that one,” which makes them explain the entire commercial.  It still doesn’t make sense to me, but I laugh so we can move on.

In an exam room the other day at work, a client was very tuned in to all the steps of testing I was performing on his dog.  He knew the normal results ranges, and names of different medications and eye drops.  I asked him if he was in the eye care field since he was so knowledgeable on the subject, and he replied, “No, I just stayed at the Holiday Inn.”  My coworker laughed immediately, and I was struck dumb for a moment at this answer.  That’s saying a lot because people say a lot of bizarre things to me in this job.  As I wondered what the hell Holiday Inn had to do with the question I asked him, I took my cue from my coworker and forced out a laugh.  “Bah. Hahm. Heh.  So anyway, what medications is your dog taking right now?”  When we left the exam room, my coworker explained that there is a commercial about a guy staying at the Holiday Inn and becoming an insta-genius as a result.  Thank god, I thought he was just crazy.  It could have gone badly.

Even without access to commercial advertisements and mediocre cable sitcoms, I am still able to make purchases and find entertainment.  I have opted to make books, movies, blogs, music and sunlight more a part of my entertainment than television, but I have no social statement to follow.  I prefer conversations about authors and movies and celebrities who have achieved things I dream of to discussing celebrity reality shows or which person I don’t know is dating which other person I don’t know.  I struggle in these latter conversations for something to say, and usually have to resort to a fart joke to avoid an awkward exit.  (The extent of my social awkwardness is such that a fart joke can actually help me out of a jam.)  Here in my writing bubble, however, I cannot see any of your blank faces, and I can’t hear any of your commercial plot descriptions, so I will continue writing about what I love.  I’d end with a fart joke, but mentioning farts three times in one post is awkward enough.


About Allison Anarchy

I write because I have to
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2 Responses to I Don’t Watch TV, But I’m Not Aggressive About It

  1. Do you worry about losing some measure of “relatabilty” with your audience? Outside of the fart arena that is. I’m not advocating one way of the other, but I find it makes my life easier if I have some faint notion of what a Bieber is.

  2. laneydodson says:

    That’s a good point, and if I was sheltering myself from the outside world, I hope I would be concerned about not being able to relate to readers. But I have other ways of keeping tabs on the world’s happenings. I actually like being able to feel a little horrified when I see commercials or TV shows that make a lot of noise but don’t really say anything. It keeps me alert and questioning what they are really trying to sell and who THEY really are. I don’t think it’s worth spending time on things I’m not interested in just to fit into conversations, but if I were writing about such a subject, I would do my research. I also have teen nieces and nephews and a husband in advertising to fill me in on any pop culture references I may miss.
    My philosophy is to be open minded and willing to learn about new things while staying true to my own likes and dislikes. That’s the long answer.

    Short answer: no

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