7. Unplug For Five Days

I am a creature of habit. I habitually turn the TV on whenever I am in it's midst. I am in the midst of a TV very often, because we have a lot of them in our house. We have 7 televisions under our roof. This is excessive and I am aware, but I use our professions to justify it. You see, my husband and I both work in the media. I work for a local radio station, and my husband was once a television producer (for the now defunct "Whatever" Show on KARE 11 - R.I.P.) and is now in Public Relations. It pays (literally) for the two of us to be informed. I also believe in multitasking, so we have TVs in places like the laundry room and the kitchen. It helps make the average housewifery more palatable.

Also, we're pop culture junkies. It's one of the things that brought us together in the first place. The fact that we both were fluent enough in pop culture to recall the episode of 'Family Ties' where Skippy and Alex get stuck in the basement for a weekend and Skippy had to don a chipmunk costume to stay warm. We are so well versed in pop culture trivia, that people do not invite us to play Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture Edition because we will win, and not by a small margin. We are a force to be reckoned with.

This love of media has now spanned to the Internet. I have been known to lose hours online, following the breadcrumb trail from website to website. Some of this stems from working on a daily radio show. There was a short period of panic each morning when I realized that I was partially responsible for filling three hours of air with witty repartee. Remember the feeling you would get on Sunday nights when you realized that you had to go to school the next day and you might not know all the answers if the teacher called on you? I had that feeling... every day. The World Wide Web (thank you very much, Al Gore) was always ripe with topics and was the remedy to cure my ills. I guess I never got out of the habit of trolling the web each morning. My job still requires daily use of the Internet to procure the latest and greatest celebrity news... my job does not, however, require the daily (often hourly) visit to the grand poo bah of time suckage, FACEBOOK.

Conveniently, Liv, my co host on my Saturday morning radio show, Get Real on FM 107.1 (to answer your question upon seeing our picture: No, Liv and I are not related - at least not in this life, but we are the best of friends) suggested that we do a show about how "plugged in" we are as a culture. I happened to have it on my handy dandy list of challenges, so I was definitely excited to unplug both for the show and this blog (I wrote papers in college about communicating through dance as a woman in Asian cultures to turn in to my Communications, Dance, Women Studies, and Japanese professors - I'm a master at killing many birds with one stone). I blurted out to Liv that I was going to unplug (no Internet or TV) for five days. Liv, who knows me better than most, managed to hide her amusement at my passionate declaration. Instead her eyes became as wide as saucers when she said, "Wow, Colleen. I am just going to do it for ONE day." I couldn't back down though, five days really felt like a challenge, and that's the whole point.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must make a public apology to Liv. I made ruthless fun of her when she told me that Sunday would be her day to unplug. We spent the entire afternoon together at a class on Sunday, and I teased her for taking the easy way out. I stood by that... until the Oscar telecast started on Sunday evening. Liv and I are equals in our interest in award shows. I mourned for her, and then made the best of my final few hours of television viewing. By the way, I need to figure out how to work in the fact that Liv's husband Brad is the voice on the DVD of the Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture Edition (I guess I just worked it in). I have always dreamed of playing the game with them so that I could say that I actually played the game with the voice of the game. They won't play with us, they are afraid. I am going to have to kiss that dream goodbye.

There were ground rules. First of all, as earning an income is essential in this economy, I still had to perform my basic work duties. I set aside a couple of hours in the morning to accomplish my daily tasks that require the Internet, and gave myself the framework of five essential sites that I could visit, no wandering outside of these parameters. Also, cartoons did not count as media consumption. My son watches a couple of cartoons in the morning, and then again after his nap - and let's be honest, while I am engaged with him while he watches, I am really thinking about how badly I want to see an episode of Caillou where Caillou's Daddy turns to the bottle, and Caillou's Mommy turns to a life of crime to make ends meet because of Daddy's excessive drinking. Odds are, that episode will never exist. I knew that what I would miss the most was my "shows" (which I will spare you from listing, they are great in number), and my beloved Facebook (which my college room-mate, Liz calls "crackbook").

I first must disclose that I did not make it five days. I made it almost four. I caved on Thursday evening when the hugest snowstorm in the entire world that has ever happened in all of history (I am exaggerating for effect) hit us hard (again... slight exaggeration). As the snow was falling, all I wanted was to cuddle up in my snuggie (yes, I have one, in fact, I have four) with my honey and watch 30 Rock. I went down in a blaze of glory. I spent Thursday evening after my son went to sleep absorbing the healing rays of the TV, and once my son was up and gone for a day with his grandfather on Friday... the binge continued. My own personal marathon of my very favorite shows. It was a lot like what happens when you're on a diet, and you give yourself a little permission to have a bite of cake, and then you end up eating the whole cake. Not that I know what that is like.

On Wednesday, after I put my son down for his nap, I rolled out my yoga mat in the living room and did a few Sun Salutations while I listened to Louise Hay's 101 Power Thoughts on my iPod (yeah, I'm all spiritual like that. Though, I may not have done that if a really killer Tyra Show episode had been on.) I realized from this experience that the reason I was missing the TV and the internet was because I was afraid I might be missing something. I think this happens more often than we realize. We get confused about where life is "happening." Here's the good news, life is "happening" wherever you are. That's what is important. Have you ever not been invited to a party and then felt awful because you were afraid of what you were missing? Your life doesn't happen where you are not. Your life happens where you ARE. The unexpected lesson I gained from this challenge was to remember to be present in each moment. Each one of MY moments. Not to focus on life beyond me because that has nothing to do with me. It's good that I got to that lesson on Wednesday though, because by Thursday... I was ready for some TV!

Next week, I am going to go all Andrew Zimmern and eat some sort of bizarre food. Probably brains. Seriously, brains, I mean it.

1 comment:

  1. As I am currently unemployed, I happen to check the "crackbook" no less than 3 times a day. That means turning on the computer and waiting for it to warm up, etc (we turn off and unplug our computer whenever we are not using it because we are trying our best to be green). That is a pretty strong addiction if I ever saw one. The creator of Facebook was on the Today Show today. I couldn't even watch him talk to Matt Lauer. How can I be so addicted to something this non suit owning kid created in his dorm room. The only thing I created in our dorm room was some pretty nummy Totino's Pizza Rolls in our toaster oven.


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