Hi, my name is Cheryl….
…and I’m a television addict.
I can go for weeks at a time without watching anything, but once I start. I just can’t stop.
We don’t have a TV proper. We watch things on my computer. I find TV annoying-the commercials, the fact that there is never anything good on any of the 200 channels. But the internet.
Ahhh, the internet.
It has ever television series and movie ever made (practically). The good, the bad, the oh-so-addicting.
And when I find a series I like…
I watch episode after episode, but I just GOTTA find out what happens next.
I could blame the internet, but truthfully, before I knew how to navigate the world of streaming video (and perhaps before there was such a world), I was binging on DVD’s.
Alias was my first. A friend loaned me the first season, and I was hooked.
Intellectually I recognized that Alias wasn’t Grade A television, but emotionally I was invested in Sydney’s struggle to take down a super secret rogue intelligence agency posing as the CIA (even to say it sounds melodramatic), and of course, whether she and Vaughn would ever get together.
And then there was Six Feet Under and Oz, and they really were good shows. And I had 10+ seasons worth of catching up to do. But back then, I had to either buy the season, borrow it from a brother or friend, or borrow it from Blockbuster. I couldn’t actually watch all of them at once.
Then along came streaming video.
When I sampled Firefly on my cousin’s recommendation, I watch the whole season in one night (and morning).
And when I re-discovered Alias, when I was four seasons behind, I spent every spare minute catching up.
Recently after a summer of watching next to nothing, I clicked on Suits: Season One. With my Amazon prime membership, it was free to watch. And I fell in love. It was like another Mad Men. The witty repartee, Harvey’s charming smile, the clever storylines, the excellent balance between the comedic and dramatic elements had me up all night.
Staying up late for TV is bad. Not going to bed at all is worse, but worst of all is when I can’t restrict myself to watching after Caleb goes to bed.
I start sneaking away throughout the day to catch a glimpse here and there. I let him watch videos all day, so I can feed my addiction.
Meals are an after thought, work takes a back seat, my mind, instead of being in the present, is occupied with Harvey and Mike and Jessica (and Donna!). I get emotionally invested in people and lives that aren’t even REAL.
I know this.
But I tell myself I can handle it. I’ll just watch one episode. Everybody watches television after all, and I don’t want to deprive myself. After all, it feels so good! It makes me happy!
So I watch one episode. And one more.
And one more.
And the next thing I know, it is 3 a.m., I have a splitting headache, and I am hating myself. Or maybe it’s 8 p.m. and I’ve been ignoring Caleb for hours, dinner was never made, and still, all I want to do is find out whether Harvey will forgive Mike for caving to Jessica’s blackmail.
I can’t watch just one episode anymore than an alcoholic can only have one drink.
When I finally look up from the computer after the last episode of the show (to date), the kitchen is trashed, I’m behind on my work, and I’m tired. And all I can think of is an alcoholic after a binge and blackout saying, I’ll never do that again!
I don’t want to spend my life watching other people pretend to live. The life I have chosen does not have room for 10 years of watching television. Attachment parenting, gardening, cooking from scratch, running my own business, and enjoying all of it requires attention and participation.