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Thursday, April 28, 2005

No TV Week

The title explains why I am able to post this. If I were watching TV tonight, I wouldn't be writing this. It's day five and so far so good. It is hard to get used to the quiet. Right now it is very quiet, or so it seems. It's not so much the quiet as much as the habit. I've used TV as a sedative and a time filler for my entire life. Old habits die hard. This is my weak time, when I get home. I've been focused and stressed all day and boy it sure would be nice to turn on (the TV), tune in, and drop out. As Homer Simpson might say, TV is our friend. Actually I have grown to detest it. I hate being treated like an idiot and a sucker. They don't call it an idiot box for nothing. PT Barnum would have loved it. Car commercial after car commercial, playing happy music and talking happy talk. Gee I sure would be happy if I had one of those. That's just what the world needs is more cars. There's another addiction I'd like to give up, but that a story for another time.

On the positive side, I have managed to be very productive this week. More time at the gym, more time reading, and more time to work on projects. The funny thing I have learned is that the more you do, the more there is to do. I used to think that if you did stuff, you'd get finished, and then you could go back to doing nothing (watching TV). The positive lesson from this is boredom leads to action which eliminates the boredom. It's kinda cool. While I've been typing this I've gotten over my desire to turn on the tube. The choice I will be faced with at the end of the week is do I go back to watching TV. The answer is probably yes, but just a little and not everyday.

I like to think we'd be a lot better off if we would kick the TV habit as a society. First of all, it is mostly mindless trash and we could all do without that, but I'm thinking of the larger picture. A couple years ago, Richmond was slammed by Hurricane Isabel. After a summer of drenching rain, Isabel's high winds knocked down tens of thousands of trees in the city alone. Most building survived, but power lines were down everywhere and thousands had no electricity. Strangely, I was one of the few people in the city that never lost power, one of the benefits of living downtown with underground utilities. A strange thing happened next. While driving around the city I saw people out on their doorsteps and porches. There was nothing to do inside and no TV. People started bonding with their neighbors. Grills were fired up and spontaneous neighborhood bar-b-ques took place. People went to the parks and hung out with their kids. Restaurants opened up with generators and started feeding people. There was a renaissance of old fashioned neighborliness and it was refreshing. After a week or two the power went back on and things went back to normal. The blackout was just a memory, but it was a taste of what was and what could be again. I just think we'd all be better off if we kicked the habit and put our energy elsewhere. That's the great hope of the future; we have all this potential energy just waiting to be harnessed. Well the future begins with me and starts right now.

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