the eternal question

4 Dec

Am I or am I not a snob?

It might be time for me to just go with “yes.  I am a snob.”  because then I can stop justifying myself and just say “I disagree with you – as you know, I am a snob.” and we can all just move forward.  It would save me (and by virtue of this blog, YOU) a lot of time and soul-searching.

Yesterday I was seeing my stylist, Mr. Bruce, and he asked me if I had seen the most recent episode of Glee (note to the snobs who raised me – that’s a TV show).  Exasperated, I set aside his copy of Elle Decor that I had been perusing and salivating over, and said “Mr. Bruce, you know I don’t watch television.  How many times do we have to discuss this?”  He said “but it is so good and you HAVE to see it.  What would it take to get you to watch just one episode?” and then, as I sighed, he answered his own question: “two broken legs and traction?” 

And I said “only if I didn’t have a book and the remote control was stuck on play.”

I hate television.  Hate it.  There.  I said it.  You can watch it all day long and I won’t judge you for it (very harshly, to your face), but me?  I hate it.  And yes, I know that hate is a strong word.

When I was growing up, my parents would often go out on Friday and Saturday nights and have a babysitter come in to stay with Walker and me.  This happened a lot.  Imagine Mary Rose’s horror to learn that she had an eight year-old who had become addicted to Dallas, Dynasty, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.  I can imagine it clearly, because I have an eight year-old daughter, and I freak out over her level of interest in the Disney Channel.  Although Hannah Montana in 2010 and Dallas in 1978 are probably fairly similar in terms of theme and adult content.  And certainly language.  What kind of culture are we who have decided that “ass”, “bitch” and “bastard” are suitable for all audiences?  I’m becoming nostalgic for hell and damn, but I digress…

So my mom took steps to limit our television-watching.  We were each afforded a maximum television allowance of 1.5 hours of TV per day.  We protested, but in my house, children were not in charge, and our plaintive cries went unheeded.  It wasn’t long – maybe 3 months at most? before that 90 minutes a day was reduced to 60 minutes per WEEK.  that’s right.  One hour of television a week, and if you were a girl in the late 1970’s, you used up that 60 minutes on Monday nights with Little House on the Prairie.  Which left an awfully long week to endure with no further television entertainment.  I was forced to find my viewing pleasure elsewhere.

And I did find pleasure elsewhere.  I rode horses, I took lessons in ballet and gymnastics, I read like there was no tomorrow, and I played kickball with all the other turned-outside children in the neighborhood.  We rode our bikes, I visited my grandmother, I walked downtown to the library, I went roller-skating, I played ball with our dog.  I took piano and art lessons. 

The other smart thing that my parents did was to de-emphasize the television set itself.  We had one tiny 13 inch television, and it was set in the bottom cabinet of a corner hutch.  I have vivid memories of sitting cross-legged on the floor, 3 feet away from the TV trying to make out what was being depicted.  The DVD screen in my minivan is bigger than our main TV was.  My dad’s friends would bring binoculars when they came over to watch the game at our house.  I am not making this up.  Believe what you will about me, I am just not that imaginative.

Once I went to college, we watched the occasional TV show – in the commons room, with a group, and that was fun, but it was a social event, and I am always game for a party.  And of course, when I was married, the children’s father and I would occasionally become tuned in to a series.  Or we would watch the NBA finals back when Michael Jordan was playing and the Bulls were legendary.  Sometimes I would watch a documentary, if it was beautiful, or if I was pregnant and it was about the high-risk maternity ward.  There’s nothing like the combination of pregnancy hormones, fear, anxiety, and visuals of babies born in precarious circumstances to really make you cry, and thus, achieve exhausted catharsis, culminating in nightmare-ridden sleep.  (Ahhh, pregnancy – those were good times.)

Now that I run a single-parent household, I just don’t have time to sit down and watch television.  The minute the children are settled and quiet, I can’t stand to hear another minute of inane conversation or information or arguing (this means you, fox”news”).  I don’t care to see CSI or Law and Order.  I deal with that kind of human tragedy and law-enforcement heroics every day.  I also know that we don’t wrap up our dna-fingerprint cases in an hour, and that we can’t always find a suspect, and I become frustrated with their neat wrap-ups and cavalier treatment of what are very real frustrations and challenges in my day job.  (Oh my.  I am suddenly feeling a little testy.  This is why I don’t watch TV.  It upsets my serenity.)

The time and competing-interests involved are the fodder for another blog.  But I hope that this little narrative helps you understand why I am so uninformed and out-of-the-loop on news and current culture.  But please, understand, I like it this way, and I really don’t intend to change.

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