There was a brief period of time in my life, spanning roughly 12 years, where television dictated every social and professional decision I made. When I was nannying at 16, the kids were in bed before American Idol was on. In college, I spent more time during finals week binge watching Arrested Development than studying (I made it through finals unscathed…the beauty of being an art student). I went relationshipless for nearly the entire run of The Office, because of how badly Jim and Pam inflated my expectations, and afterwards, nothing barring a major emergency ever interrupted TV Tuesday. But recently, that iron grip that primetime entertainment had on me has come to an end.
How? I’ve recently found myself in a new apartment with no TV, no personal computer, an iPhone 4S that’s on its last dying breath, no HBO Go password, and not even a radio in my car so that I can join the Serial party. This wasn’t exactly a self-bettering resolution or some empowering and artistic life challenge. I’m just broke. And so I’ve been forced to give up my one-sided, yet entirely satisfying social circle of charming and quirky and impeccably dressed fake friends.
While I’ve abandoned my queues, I can’t help but feel that I’m the one who has been abandoned. From what I’ve gleaned from Mindy Kaling’s Instagram account, she doesn’t even miss me. My fledgling favorite, Brooklyn 99, didn’t even flinch when I didn’t return to watch it. Downton Abbey never even bothered telling me it was back. Jerks.
The transition has been rocky. I don’t easily let go of those I love, and my coping mechanisms have left something to be desired. I’ve been playing ‘Hit It and Quit It’ with the first seasons of some terrible TV shows, trying to fill a void, but slumming it just isn’t making me feel better. I’m not far from laying in the dark playing the Sinead version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” and wondering if Schmidt and Cece have succumbed to the inevitable.
To be fair, living unplugged has been enlightening. Not being chained to the television has freed up all kinds of time, and the ways I’ve filled that time have been much more satisfying than keeping up with my “friends.” Things like:
- Getting to bed nice and early so I can YouTube things in the dark on a four-inch screen until 1:00 AM.
- Researching the word “fleek” for, gawd, like, 40 minutes.
- Exploring how I feel about going outside. Deciding that taking an emotional risk like that is not advisable in my vulnerable state.
- Working out scheduling options for doing my mounds of laundry.
- Ignoring aforementioned schedule to Google pictures of Liam Payne.
- Tuning my ukulele in case I decide to learn how to play it.
- Destroying someone else’s Netflix algorithm with eight solid hours of Gossip Girl [Sidebar: GET OVER YOURSELF JENNY HUMPHREY].
But mostly, I’ve gotten a chance to look past the screen out into the real world and spend time with my actual real life friends who answer me when I talk to them. My drama-free, mundanely dressed friends whose apartment sizes are all proportional to their incomes. My friends who don’t date male-model quality strangers and then, through a series of hijinks and miscommunication, end those relationships after three days/30 minutes. My friends who don’t order at a restaurant and then leave before the food comes. My friends who actually call before they show up at my house.
It’s okay, I guess.