Friday, April 11, 2008

tee vee

Sometime in the first few months after Noah was born, we got cable TV. I mostly blame the fact that as a new parent, you're in a stupor all the time; you can't muster the brain cells for reading much, but you can't stare at a blank wall either. Okay, I read a lot of magazines. But anyway. Being a new (and breastfeeding) mother is kind of like being sick: you are in repose on the couch a lot of the time.

As many of you know, except for a short, maybe two-month stint, my husband and I hadn't had television for six years, so it's been...something that will take a whole post to sum up.

"Let me explain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up."

There are things about having television that I really like, I have to admit. I liked being warned about the huge twisters heading for my county a couple of weeks ago. I liked watching the weatherman show me just how high into the atmosphere the hailstorm extended at that very moment. I wanted to know exactly when to hasten to my basement stairs.

I like many, many reality shows. Not The Bachelor or Rock of Love. I love competition shows like Top Chef; I love watching Mike Rowe slog through rhinoceros poo on Dirty Jobs; I love finding out whether milk is the best way to cure a burning tongue on Mythbusters. I wish Stacy and Clinton were waiting around the corner for me with $5000. (I need it. But that's another post.) Basically, I subsist on a steady diet of TLC, Discovery, Bravo and...yeah, that's it. An occasional foray into Rick Steves' Europe or some such.

I went from "No, I haven't seen that. We don't have TV" to "Can you believe that Michael Johns was kicked off this week? I thought that Kristy Lee Cook would go for sure!" Weird.

It's a conflict, though, in my heart. I am constantly flummoxed by the things that are permitted on TV now. Nothing's really taboo, unless you consider the fact that Cinemax actually waits until fairly late at night to show the "adult" programming to be some kind of major boundary.

I don't want Noah growing up with this stuff as part of his life, which probably speaks volumes about its being in mine. I enjoy a lot of shows, but most of the ones I really like have bleeps throughout the broadcast. Do I really want to be explaining that to Noah anytime soon? Do I want to keep those shows for when he's asleep or something? I don't think that ultimately my enjoyment of the television will win out over my misgivings.

The other side of the coin: what kind of life do we envision? Are we going to be a no-TV family? There's a certain amount of estrangement from others that seems to happen when you can't converse about pop culture from a viewer's standpoint.

I am not trying to condemn any family's decisions. No way--not my place. We watch plenty of things that I just haven't had to decide what to do about yet. Once upon a time, I had all the answers for these things, but now I don't.