channel zero

3. Something that is part of your routine that you enjoy

Some time when I was in middle or high school, I stopped watching television. I realized that every time I sat down in front of the TV, I would eat. I would want something salty and crunchy and I would want to mindlessly munch while I zeroed in on the screen. So at some point I decided to cut off the bad habit by cutting off the source.

I didn’t miss it much, which some TV addicts might find surprising, but I was pretty busy with other things and my preferred activity post-school was reading anyway. (Not homework. Just fiction novels.) And if I did want to watch TV, my small bedroom TV had a DVD player in it, so I’d just pop in one of my seasons of Will and Grace and binge watch that for a while. (This was before Netflix and Hulu, so binge-watching was a little more hands on. You had to change the disc every 4 episodes… I know, it’s complicated and exhausting just thinking about.)

When I went to college not only did I not get a new TV, I didn’t even take my little one with me. I watched a lot of Hulu (before it was a paid subscription) or went to someone elses room and watched stuff if I wanted to. As a theater major at a liberal arts school, it’s not like I had a lot of time to devote to TV anyway. The same applied when I went to Highlands College. My first year I lived with a sweet family, and any TV watching was done with them or the occasional movie while babysitting. Netflix and Hulu, again, if I really wanted to zone out. And my second year, I shared an apartment with 5 other girls so how would I have watched cable even if I wanted to? If the TV was on, it was probably a movie, and between school, ministry interning, and two jobs, I usually didn’t devote my little free time to TV watching.

When I moved to Delaware, well you probably see where this going. No TV in my room, and I opted out of watching any cable and paying the cable bill. Now it was economical. Plus, I had Netflix and Hulu…. so… yeah. I guess you get my point.

So when I married someone who loves to watch TV and moved in with him, you can imagine the culture shock of suddenly having access to cable. Let’s just say I binge-watched HGTV like the newly married woman I was.. but less because of the ring and new last name and more because I hadn’t had cable in years! And we have On Demand! It’s pretty magical.

And most evenings, Allen and I eat dinner at the table or in front of the TV (I’m a table eater, he’s a couch/TV eater, so we compromise by doing both) and usually watch TV for the rest of our evening. But around 9:00p we turn off the TV and go to bed. Since he works at 11:30, he’ll sleep for an hour and a half or so, and I read for about an hour. Sometimes I journal. Sometimes we chat and catch up. Sometimes we snuggle, sometimes we don’t. This happens at least 5 or 6 nights of the week. Sometimes this various, but mostly it looks like that. But that’s it. That’s my favorite part of the routine. Turning off the TV. 

I like TV. I don’t love it. I love activities you do with people that inspire conversation and eye contact. To me, TV watching is a distant activity. It’s mindless. And that’s okay, because sometimes I need mindless. And sometimes I’m all ‘talked-out’ from my day, and I just want to zone out. But my favorite part is always when the screen goes off, and the apartment is quiet. I get my husband’s attention all to myself, and I get to pick up a book. Sleep is imminent at that point, and is there anything better than the prospect of a comfy pillow and a good night’s sleep?

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