Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Archive for the tag “TV”

Losing The War On Our Minds

I have never watched so much TV in my life.  I think this is truly safe to say.  I’ve been trapped alone in a hotel room in North Dakota for two weeks now.  Yes, I have spent some time seeing patients in clinic, but I have been booked pretty lightly.  All my nights are free.  And I find it safe to say, in this town of 18,000, in the dead of winter, there is nothing else to do.  Well, there is a Walmart.  And some bars.  But I don’t drink anymore, although I am strongly considering it.

A little background on the TV thing.  You see, I grew up without one.  Yes, I was a freak.  I was a freak for a lot of reasons, mainly because I was brilliant, and because my parents were Wally and June Cleaver in a world where everyone else’s parents partied and screwed around and, well, watched TV.  I’m not saying I had a bad childhood.  In fact, the opposite is true.  I had a wonderful childhood.  I have no early traumas to draw on when I do my writing.  Trauma for me was coming in second in the spelling bee (which never happened, by the way).

But we had no TV.  My parents did not buy a television until I was grown and out of the house.  They thought TV was a waste of time, and money.  And although I hated them for it, in hindsight, they were definitely right.  I spent some of my childhood snatching moments of TV at my friends’ houses.  When I spent the night at my best friend’s house, we spent all Saturday morning watching cartoons.  I went to friends’ houses after school and we glued ourselves to The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island.  I got every precious moment of TV I could get.

On occasion, my parents would rent a TV for big events.  When the Olympics came on, for example, I would keep that TV on every minute I possibly could.  The folks would pull me away after an hour or so, but I got to watch M*A*S*H, and I got to watch Nadia Comanici win her gold.  But I felt left out all through junior high, and high school, because the kids were talking about shows, and I had never seen any of them.  In junior high, I went to a class party that was held just to find out Who Shot JR.  I watched that show, and I had no idea what was going on.

Funny thing, though.  After I left home, TV lost all importance in my life.  We never had one at the apartment when I was in college.  I was so busy out meeting people, and partying, and studying, that it just didn’t seem relevant.  Once I was in medical school, I certainly didn’t have a TV.  I didn’t have the time, and I couldn’t afford it anyway.  Same thing for residency.

There was one brief period in my life when I did watch TV.  When I took my first job out of residency, I rented an apartment which included cable in the price of rent.   I felt it would be foolish to waste the cable, so I bought a TV.  Since it was my first job as a real doctor, I bought a BIG TV.  I still didn’t watch it much.  When I watched, the TV stayed on Comedy Central.  It cheered me up when I was feeling down, or when I was staying up late making jewelry.  I loved old episodes of Saturday Night Live, and I loved the Daily Show.  But my absolute favorite was What’s My Line Anyway.  The original one and the one with Drew Carey.  I watched that show for hours and hours.  It made me laugh hysterically.  And by this time in my life, that took a lot.

Once I got married, we never got cable again.  We love to watch movies, and we test shows that we hear are good on Netflix.  We’ve enjoyed Burn Notice, Bones, Buffy, Angel, Heroes, In Plain Sight, White Collar, Castle, and most recently and delightfully, Big Bang Theory.  We watch kid’s movies with our daughter.  I don’t think she even realizes that we don’t even watch “real” TV.  We are commercial free.

But this brings us back to where I am now:  a hotel in North Dakota with a winter storm on the way.  I have spent the weekend holed up in here, except for a brief period yesterday when the weather was so beautiful I had to go out.  There was nowhere to go, really.  I went to Walmart, and the little mall.  Not much going on there.  But I could go out without my coat.

Otherwise, I’ve been a shut-in.  Watching regular TV.  And thank goodness for movies.  And thank goodness for Law & Order.  You can find that on anywhere, any time.  But these ads.  Oh my God!  They’re giving me nightmares.  The asinine Sonic guys.  The Geico pig.  McDonalds Fishy McBites with the rapping wall fish.  That Geico thing where the African basketball player runs around slapping everything out of the air?  Trojan vibrators being sold on prime time TV?  Seriously?  Really?  When the hell did that happen?

And the shows.  Holy cow.  The world has gone to hell in a handbasket, for sure.  Duck Dynasty?  The Virgin Bachelor?  Honey Boo-Boo?  Almost Naked Animals?  Amish Mafia?  Swamp Pawn?  Teen Mom 2?  These names sound like they should be satires of real shows.  No wonder my patients are so darn dim.  It’s not their fault.  Their brains are being poisoned.  It’s not even insidious at this point.  It’s overt.  War has been declared on the minds of the world, and we are just letting it happen.  And I think I know why.  I can’t turn this thing off, because I’m so damn bored.  I think we’re all giving up.  Because we’re just damn bored.

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Technology And The Folks

My parents are way late when it comes to technology.  Not that this is unusual; we have the expected jokes about VCRs with their clocks flashing 1200, which theirs actually did.  Even VCRs at this point are hopelessly outdated.  Thank goodness, because they were little more reliable than cassette tapes, always losing their tracking or unwinding great long ribbons that could not be stuffed back in their box.  My husband and I did the best we could to bring them into the twenty-first century, but they had to be dragged kicking and screaming.  As I recall, I bought them their first answering machine.  Mom left this really grim, formal message that sounded like they had just stepped out to go to a double funeral.  We bought them their first cordless phones.  Mom literally still had a rotary dial phone in her craft room that worked. 

They were a little suspicious of all this technology, but we really dragged them into the next century when we bought them a computer.  They both had some computer experience – Mom rather extensive because she taught Engineering Graphics using AutoCad when she was a professor at Alabama.  My dad had a computer in his office and a laptop that the Law School had given him to use and he figured out how to use Word Perfect and that was about it.  Mom could check her email.  They were interested in a home computer, but they were just hung up on what to get.  By the time they did all the necessary investigations, Consumer Reports inspections and such, the computers they were looking at had already gone off the market.  We finally took pity on them, and my husband, the data base expert, picked a home computer and we bought it for them for Christmas.  He set the whole thing up for them, which was a labor of love.  Mom was still a little sceptical of him at that point as he was a recent husband and she expressed concerns that he might be trying to access their financial information.  Seriously?  So they learned to use the computer, and when that one died recently, we got them another one.  By that time, Mom was less suspicious of my husband and she was sufficiently uninhibited enough to call him up when the computer was having problems.  Score one for the husband!

We bought them a DVD player to replace their VCR (which they didn’t replace) and a new TV twice to replace their old one, which I swear still used transistor tubes.  It might have even been black and white.  I think they have enjoyed the heck out of the TV and the DVD player, but they don’t admit it.  I also helped Daddy buy Mom a new stereo, with Bose speakers and a turntable for all their vinyl collection, which is extensive.  They literally still had an eight track on the old stereo.  They actually played Christmas music on it.

The real amusement came in with the cell phones.  We couldn’t really buy our folks cell phones, because we didn’t know what kind of contract they would want.  So forever they went without cell phones.  Smart phones were already coming about when they finally broke down and got a couple cell phones, but they were on a month-to-month contract because Mom was suspicious of the phone companies and did not know what kind of contract to get.  Their phones were ridiculous dinosaurs.  They could text on them only by punching the number keys, but they did not learn how to text.  I don’t even know if their contracts permitted them to receive texts.  So they carried their phones with them sometimes but not always, and they turned them on rarely.  So they would tell us we could reach them on their cell phones, and then they would go merrily off into the breech with their phones turned squarely OFF.  So we got used to being unable to reach them. 

Mom finally broke down and got a smart phone from Motorola the other day.  I have been trying to show her how to use it, as my husband and I both have state-of-the-art Droid Bionics and I figured she could use some schooling.  We set up her email and her WiFi and started working on texting.  That was a little trickier.  Her phone did not have a text icon on it anywhere that we could find, yet she could receive texts from me.  Well, we finally figured it out and now she is PRACTICING.  I received some sixteen identical texts from her the first day she figured out how to text.  I didn’t hear anything from her for a while and then today, she went texting nuts.  She sent me message after message, and at least they weren’t all the same.  We actually had a texted conversation, which was very impressive, and I could tell she was quite excited.  She still has a month-to-month contract though, and her next move will be to figure out what kind of long-term contract she wants to have.  She did not get Daddy a smart phone because, well, I don’t think either of us think that he would want to or be able to handle it.  It would just drive him nuts.  So he will continue with his dinosaur phone, which doesn’t matter because he still never turns it on.

The Great Escape

The older I become, the more aware I am that movie and TV watching for me are a key way for me to “get out of myself.”  Netflix is my best friend.  My husband and I spend good time enjoying shows together.  Currently we’re catching up on back episodes of Burn Notice, Lie to Me (finished), The Mentalist, Castle, Bones, In Plain Sight and most recently, The Big Bang Theory.  By myself I am watching back episodes of Nip/Tuck, which my husband cannot believe, because I usually hate medical shows (being in the medical field I both feel like I am still at work when I watch them, and I also criticize every little bit of them:  “They would NEVER do it that way!”)  Nip/Tuck is medically not believable but the characters are so well developed that I can actually overlook that.  Tonight we went and saw Taken 2, which was EXCELLENT, I must say.  I love all the physics of the guy triangulating his position with the help of his daughter, and I just love the way he kicks ASS!  No spoilers here.  

I just find that when I watch TV shows and movies, I can really get out of my own life and forget who I am for a while.  And depending on the show, I will either finish relieved that my life is not that bad or at least have just forgotten about the things that are bugging me for a while.  This is a little addictive.  Only my sense of honor (I don’t watch our together shows without my husband) prevents me from spending every waking hour escaping with the TV (oh, and the fact that my DH would kill me if I wasted all my time on the couch).  My current favorites are In Plain Sight and The Big Bang Theory.  I love Mary’s character on In Plain Sight, and it doesn’t hurt that her partner, Marshall, is a total hottie.  And I am just geeky enough (with my physicist husband) to love the “science humor” in Big Bang.  I think those of us with degrees in the sciences have all known those characters on Big Bang in real life.  I love Sheldon to pieces; as my husband put it, “He has both Aspberger’s and OCD!”  As do we all, as do we all.

We have just received the latest available season of Castle, which my husband really really loves.  I think he can see himself as Castle, a bright quirky rich guy dabbling in crimesolving and chasing around a hot police officer.  The show really is pretty damn good.  I’m just waiting to see:  do they ever get together?  No spoilers please; we’re just a few seasons behind but we’re catching up.  The Mentalist is coming soon and I do love Patrick Jane’s winsome smile (not to mention the overly creepy back story, which is always just in the back of my mind).  And Bones is coming, and Tempe has just gotten pregnant, oh my!

I’m afraid if they enrolled me in a study like those rats that pushed the pleasure button until they died, I would push the TV button until I forgot my life entirely.  Let’s face it, my job stresses me out so bad I can hardly see straight.  Just to get away from it for a little while by crawling into someone else’s life is so great!  I know my husband worries about me finding escapist things, and I’m sure he’s noticing, this blog is one of them too.  I hope it’s a little more redeeming than staring at the boob tube all the time. 

I do prefer to watch things at home.  The movie theater is a big experience, and it is my husband’s favorite, but I like to be at home, away from the sticky floors and the teens texting each other in the front row.  I like having a big ole pause button so I can run pee real quick and go get food.  And I am a bit of a home body so I guess that figures in too.  Oddly, when I was pregnant, I was convinced that if I went to a movie theater, that we would be involved in a drive-by and the baby and I would be shot.  Weird, the crap your brain comes up with when you’re pregnant.  I guess that’s a little bit on my mind still, just another silly (but not so completely unrealistic) worry that I have managed to come up with. 

Right now I am at home on the computer, writing a blog piece I can release tomorrow because as crazy as my day may be, I may not have time to come up with one then.  I am trying hard to write a piece a day at least on week days, when I have time between patients.  The best part of right now is:  when my hubby gets home from taking back the babysitter, we’re gonna watch a show!

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