I’ve done it. It’s true. I am full of shame and unrelenting disappointment in myself. But after ten years of being TV free, I have finally caved. The cable guy wore me down. Being in social conversations where I felt like the odd man out wore me down. Not getting the chance to see public humiliating statements made on live TV by seemingly heroic folks wore me down. Feeling guilty for not having enough empathy for tornado victims because I couldn’t see their pain in live coverage wore me down. More importantly, not being able to sleep because my father died suddenly wore me down. That’s right, I’m going there. I’m playing that card too. Because that’s what people who live with shame for bad behavior do, we throw out the “My father dropped dead card” every now and then in order to make the judge-full feel guilty.
I’m not going to lie, since I’m in full confession mode, Dancing with the stars and American Idol wore me down too. Mainly it was about helping to curb my anxiety, and getting to watch the news. And commercials, I really like commercials, especially the ones that affirm my motherhood skills because I’ve chosen a healthy brand of paper towels that pick up everything in one full swoop therefore protecting my family against salmonella. I am a great mom because I buy Brawny, finally some validation.
The first day I got the television hooked up, it took me forty hours to figure out how to turn it on. Mostly because it came with this over complicated remote control that had way more buttons than the old ones. Back in the day it was relegated to on/off, channel up/ channel down, volume loud /volume low. Now there’s a whole plethora of options like Tivo record, multi channel view, menu. Speaking of menu, I got excited with that one. I was hoping by pressing menu, a real menu with food options attached to the television ready to take my order for home delivery was behind that little button. It wasn’t.
After I figured out how to turn it on, I decided to flip through some channels, you know, just as a test run. Six hours later, as my eyes swelled with deep biting pain and my sofa collapsed from my bottom intruding in on the cushion for an un-G-dly amount of time, I finally dragged my overtired body to bed. It was four a.m. I woke up Robbie. Because that’s what good wives do to their husbands in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep. We wake up our husbands to report that there are over 900 channels waiting to be seized and watched in the living room downstairs behind a locked cabinet that shamefully awaits my return.
The truth is I hate having a television in our home. I feel like my very holy sanctuary has been intruded by the outside world filled with fighting housewives who have no shame and don’t mind talking about one another behind each other’s backs and overcomplicated recipes and fancy cake shows, thereby proving once again my less than competent skills in the kitchen.
The first day after my night marathon with this box of shame, I came home from my morning run and walked into my quiet house that reminds me how my kids are getting older and how little time I have left being a full time mom, and I realized that, that, that- I have TV! “Don’t do it!” I said to myself. Just walk away. Have a little self-discipline. You have writing to get done. You have projects to work on. Don’t do-
And then I did it. I turned it on. I flipped through the channels for the next six hours. Ya, I folded laundry throughout my day, and convinced myself “I was productive.” Robbie came home after working really hard that day. “How was your day Chava, what’d you do?” I gave him one look like a deer caught in headlights. He nodded his head and then followed it with, “Oh no you didn’t.”
Remorse kicked in. I was caught with my hand red handed. And so began the walk of shame that has bestowed me for the past ten days. Although I have refused to turn on the TV again during the day hours since that first frightful incident, I have watched several hours each night and have gotten caught up on enough shows to be able to hold shallow conversations.
Oh there has been that moment here and there that has justified this new decision, like getting to watch Bebe Netanyahu address congress live and finally getting the tornado scoop and the Middle East latest. It has lessened my own personal tension and allowed me to zone out when my mind starts racing with fear, regret, and frustration. However, I still walk in shame and feel like this was probably a very bad mistake. A very seriously bad mist-
Wait what time is it?
I gotta wrap this up; we’ll talk about my issues with shame next week…..
The last Oprah’s on in thirty minutes.
(I know I said I wouldn’t watch TV during the day, but this is different. It’s research. Being a writer, I can play that card as well.)