Saturday, January 10, 2009

TV: That Remote Impulse

I have a TV in every room in the house, except the bathrooms. And that's because of logistical issues, not any more sane reason. In fact, I have more than one TV in more than on room. And I live alone. I am a TV addict most of the time. I still read a lot and that meanie guy at my main customer has me working harder than I have in years, but I'm still a TV guy.

Actually, I'm a TV guy with a remote. And I'm willing to use it.

What's amusing is see how Pavlovian I've become while watching TV. I reach for the remote at the slightest possibility the show I'm watching is about to take a break. I see a fade out starting and I'm scrambling for the remote as quickly as a man my size can do it. It's usually just inches away from my left hand, but occasionally it's elsewhere, resulting in a frantic search to try to avoid watching that most awful of all things, a commercial.

And I'm SOOO trained to do this, it even happens when I'm watching fare that doesn't have commercials. I watch sports live, which DOES have commercials. I watch shows I've recorded from over-the-air broadcasters, which sadly still do have commercials. And I watch collections of TV shows and the odd movie on DVD. (I still have VHS videotape machines, but I haven't watched one in probably six months). The collections are commercial free.

In all three of these watching situations, fade in means remote use. I hurriedly course through the other channels when watching sports. Admittedly, if I'm in a room with multiple TVs, it's the little side TV that I send channel-hopping. If watching recorded TV, the fast forward button gets extended use. On any remote, that button tends to be the first button to go. I go through a lot of remotes.

But the funniest thing is when watching a collection. There's a muscle spasm to get to the remote and then a relaxation as I remember there are NO commercials in these collections. I relax. Until the next fade out, when the process repeats itself. I KNOW I should just put the remote away and save myself these reflexive movements, but, at this point in my life, I can't help myself.

How long into watching a collection do I stop responding to the slightest darkening of the screen? About the third show, say two hours into it. Pretty sad, hunh?

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