Saturday I meet one of those "I don't watch TV" people. You know what I mean?
Here's what I don't mean: There are plenty of people who don't watch TV for one reason or another and they are pleasant people. I have no problem with these people.
Then, there's the "I don't watch TV" people who feel it's important to let you know--often repeatedly--that they don't watch TV because it's beneath them/it's a waste of time/their lives are so full they couldn't possibly be bothered with television. They've made a judgment and therefore, by contrast, you're being judged.
We are at a party Saturday, enjoying the nice weather (after a week of rain) and drinking daiquiris made from fresh strawberries and eating food with genuine grill marks in it. There are probably ~50 of us in various clusters of lawn chairs.
Somehow television comes up three different times in the midst of talking about a dozen topics. (Note: I do not initiate all of these conversations but I may be "to blame" for one.) Each time, Ms. I Don't Watch Television (IDWT) interjects that she doesn't watch television.
Yeah, okay, so maybe it's time for her to sit quietly and enjoy the sun or go get another daiquiri or mingle with a a different set of folks for a while or even introduce a new topic. It's not like anyone turned to her and asked, "What do you think of Lost?" to which a natural response would be "Is that a TV show? I don't watch television."
It was more along the lines of:
Friend: Who Wants to be a Millionaire is going back into production.
Me: Really? I had no idea. Are you going to try out?
Friend: Yeah, I think I am!
Ms. IDWT: I don't watch television.
By the third time, she is volunteering so much more, without prompting, that I turn my attention to her, thinking maybe this will meet whatever need she's determined to express.
Ms. IDWT: I don't watch TV. We just never turn it on. We have a TV but we just don't watch it. We used to watch CSI but we don't even do that anymore.
Me: Is that right...
Ms. IDWT: We're so busy with other things that we just never turn it on.
Me: What do you do with your evenings?
Ms. IDWT: We drink wine and play scrabble and enjoy each other's company.
Me: That's nice.
Ms. IDWT: Even my sixteen-year-old doesn't watch TV. She doesn't turn it on.
Me: She's probably too busy with the computer and texting her friends...
Ms. IDWT: No, she's not into that.
Me: *blink* That's unusual.
Ms. IDWT: I guess it is. She's a great kid and she has a great boyfriend. He's in Florida.
Me: Florida? How did she meet him if he's in Florida?
Ms. IDWT: Over the Internet.
At this point I am done with this woman. Her daughter isn't into computers but she's got a boyfriend she met over the Internet. Chyeah.
Look, I get that television is rarely an intellectual pursuit. That the quality of television continues to sink to new lows. I, myself, have chosen at times to go multiple weeks without television. Any television.
But, currently? I watch television. So what?
I've spent sick days with the television on all day. I've gotten through bad times by doing what I can about a sucky situation and then diverting my attention from the suckitude by watching comedies. What's wrong with that? Why is it such a badge of honor to some people that they don't watch television?