Do you live without television? I do. I haven’t really watched television since in seven years, since Doctor Who entered its modern metamorphosis. I watched through Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, until Billie Piper left (</3) and I never returned for the next season. Or to TV, really. Actually, my last three houses haven’t even had televisions. And a lot of my friends seem to feel the same way: what need we have of entertainment, is easy to find online.
But this freedom of choice comes with dire repercussions. Such as when you’re staying with someone who does have a television. Like your parents. You know, your parents, those people who never download shows onto their laptops and watch them with their headphones on. Your parents, those people who are frankly going deaf and so need the volume on their televisions turned up to ear-bleeding, which is probably the reason they went deaf in the first place. Your parents, who have no taste in television programs and who channel surf at a rate of three channels per minute.
When you’re watching television, maybe this is okay. Maybe you can sort of let your body and your spirit give up all hope, go limp and let yourself be dragged along for the ride. But when you’re simply in the next room, trying to work… you may as well try typing next to a nightclub where everyone is riding a pogo stick with a set of cymbals on the top and a jackhammer underneath. Or maybe it’s more an experience of massive disconsonance of your eyes seeing one thing while your ears speed through a flashing disco of alternate dimensions. Either way, it’s a baffling and disgruntling experience. It’s impossible to focus. And whether it be the volume or the sheer lack of exposure, it’s impossible to block out the sounds of the television.
Two nights ago I was in my parents’ kitchen, after dinner. My parents were shouting at one another (both being deaf), while one television blared in the next room, and another television did its best to be heard from the other end of the house. The noise was so disorientating and clamorous that I had to walk out. I came back later feeling like maybe I had some sort of mental problem which amplified sound, but thinking about it, it was probably just a lot of different noises which became overwhelming because my foolish ears were trying to make sense of them all at once. Trying to make a song of a maelstrom.
But you know what? After all that, I can still make sense of Skrillex.