Thursday, January 09, 2003

Competitive Media Consumption

I heard the most unexpected pitch for TiVo the other day. While I am well aware of the fact that TiVo inspires staunch loyalty amongst its owners, I was surprised to learn that my friend Chris is one of them.

Chris is a friend of mine from Navy days. When he got out of the Navy, he moved East to work in finance. He just returned to Seattle in September, and since then has been working long hours with his new company. He has also been playing flag football, working out, visiting and talking on the phone with his long-distance girlfriend, commuting, forming a trivia team (my new Tuesday night activity), cross-country skiing, biking (he got me on my mountain bike for the first time in over a year), and rock-climbing (he's the one who got me to climb for the first time in years). These are just the activities that I know about. When does the man have time to watch TV?

After Chris spoke of the joys of TiVo and how great it's been for him, I had to ask how much television he actually watches. He estimated about 10 hours a week, which is about the same amount as me. He explained that when he sits down to watch TV, he wants it to be something worthwhile, not just watching whatever junk happens to be on. My interpretation is that he is the kind of person who believes that if your going to do something, do it right (he's extremely competitive). Or, as a housemate of mine would say: come strong or don't come at all.

My mother thinks TV is terrible. She never watches it. Her idea of a happy home is a quiet one with no blaring television. (My father is slightly hard-of-hearing and watches TV nightly, volume blaring). I suppose this has influenced my attitudes towards TV. I feel a little guilty every time I watch, even if it's what I consider a quality show (ER or West Wing, for example). The guilt only increases if it's something that might not be of the highest quality (my renewed addiction to RR/RR Challenge). I don't think TV is bad, it's just something that is fine in moderation, but can be dangerous if abused (like food or alcohol, pain medications, fashion magazines). I have a history of abuse from when I lived alone. Now that I share a house with the non-TV watcher (who, ironically, owns a plasma TV), I'm much less likely to sit for too long in front of the tube.

I've finally figured out how to assuage the guilt, though. I'm learning to knit (2nd class tonight!), so can now spend my time in front of the TV listening to stories and creating lovely wollen things.


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