Tuesday, January 13, 2009
My five seconds of fame in Phoenix arrived this week as my name appeared in bold print in a newspaper column written by the notorious Ed Montini of the Arizona Republic. Check it out here: http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/EJMontini/43310#comments
While I am by no means a purist on this issue (I was raised on a steady diet of sitcoms and comedy shows, such as Gilligan's Island, The Brady Bunch, Sonny and Cher, Carol Burnett and Laugh-In), I do maintain that spending federal dollars...1.3 billion of them!...to support the option of tv viewing is a careless waste of taxpayer funding, even if it was raised selling off bandwidth. Two vouchers per household?! One is enough. What surprises me more is that choosing not to own or spend time watching tv is considered by so many people to be a radical act of abstinence. Not only that, an UN-American, elitist, snobbish act. Oh well. I'll take those hits. Mostly though, I just don't have the time...4-6 hours a day by some polls.... to sit around and watch or listen to the TV. I'd rather nap, have sex, take a bath, lay in the sun, write, or talk to a friend than watch The Hills, American Idol or even the Super Bowl. Call me a heretic. I'm okay with that.
There are other forms of abstinence I choose as well that probably cinch my status as an un-American elitist snob. And maybe some Luddite leanings.
-I do not own a microwave oven (even though some "green" proponents say it uses less energy than a conventional oven). I just don't have the space in my kitchen`.
-I don't wear make-up or dye my hair. It shows for sure, but I don't care.
-I don't clip coupons. Another waste of my time.
-I have never been to Disney Land and hope to keep it that way. (The desire to hang out at an amusement park was beaten out of me during my first job as a teenager at Six Flags of America near Chicago.)
-Because I don't have a TV, I have never seen video footage of the Twin Towers going down, and am very happy to never ever see that horrible disaster on film. We hear enough about it.
I've read other reports of radical acts of abstinence lately. There was one of a couple who decided to see if they could survive on $1.00 a day (each) expenses for food. The guy lost 15 pounds in one month. The woman only lost 5. I guess she didn't miss the chips and beer. http://onedollardietproject.wordpress.com/
An entire group of people have banded together to join something called "The Compact," in which they agree to support one another in a lifestyle of not buying anything "new" for at least a year. http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/
What I'd really like to accomplish, which seems on par with living in the stone age anymore, is to live without my computer. No e-mail. No blogging. No Internet. No Google. No Mapquest. No You Tube videos to make me laugh my ass off. No on-line bill paying. Go back to the old-fashioned travel agency approach to buying a plane ticket now and then. No renewing my overdue library books on line. No paperless newsletters. No forwarded chain mails. No ads for Viagra. Could I do it? How would I survive? Is it American?????
Well, I've got a couple of friends who have actually accomplished this radical act of abstinence and still are able to maintain healthy, vibrant lifestyles, fulfilling jobs and have real social lives! I envy them.
But leave me without internet access for a couple of days, and I feel like I've been cut off from the rest of the world! This happened to me over the past two days, and I was apoplectic with frustration trying to communicate with a voice activated technical helper at Cox Communications. I withered hours away during those days trying to solve the problem. On the second evening, of course, my geek husband solved the problem in a matter of seconds.
Why is it though, that having grown up and made it through graduate school (in science) without the Internet, and barely with a computer, I now feel like a quadrapaligic without it? Mind you, when I'm away from my home doing other things that please me, such as biking, running, or going on a 30 day river trip, it phases me not a second to be separated from the computer. But at home, it is an absolute necessity in my life. Or at least feels that way.
Then I think: how much time do I spend on the computer each day? What things could I do with that time that might actually make me feel happier, develop useful skills, improve my relationships, help me be healthier, better entertained and more well-informed? What if, just what if, I made a pact with myself to not touch the keyboard or mouse or even look at the screen over someone else's shoulder for one week while around the house? That would be a radical act of abstinence for me. Much as is the idea of making it through a day without American Idol, CNN or Fox News for others. Okay, you go first!
What would be your most radical act of abstinence?