TV Therapy

I’ve always turned to books as a vehicle of choice for escape.  In fact, my husband and I are such avid readers that when we moved into our house 10 years ago, we made a conscious decision not to hook up the cable.  We do have a TV with a DVD/VCR combo to watch movies–which we rarely do–but beyond that, it’s books, comics, and magazines for us.

Two weeks ago, in an instant (as the cliche goes), our lives turned upside down with a phone call.  Circumstances made it necessary for me to relocate to my sister’s house temporarily, and the situation was so stressful that when trying to read before bed, I couldn’t even get through a single sentence.

I tried desperately to focus–I had reviews to write–but couldn’t give the books my full attention.  I abandoned them and dashed off apologetic emails to the publicists, requesting extensions.  Thankfully, everyone was very understanding, and I was able to put reading (and blogging) on the back burner.

And that’s how I (temporarily) crossed over to the dark side.  I turned on the television and watched one of three soothing-to-me channels: Food Network, HGTV, and The History Channel.  The minute I put my nephew down for a nap each afternoon it was all about Giada, Paula Deen, Ina Garten, Rachel Ray, and Bobby Flay.

At night, instead of reaching for a book, I reached for the remote control.  (I would have scarfed a fistful of Valium but have never taken pills in my life and feared waking up in a foreign country, wearing a toga, beauty pageant sash, and sporting a tattoo on my face.)  I snuggled up with Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Hoarders, Chopped, Property Virgins, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and Dinner: Impossible.  For someone who has had little exposure to television in ten years, the choices were mind boggling.

Television did get me through the first two weeks of what promises to be a long and arduous journey.  I’m thankful that it was so distracting but was happy to come home and sleep in my own bed.  Drifting off to sleep last night, I wondered what I was missing on Food Network…but only for a second.  The delicious pile of TBRs on my nightstand pushed all thoughts of television right out of my head.

23 Comments

  • At 2010.03.07 17:46, Heather @ Book Addiction said:

    I hope things are okay with your family, Natalie. I totally get how tempting TV can be – I watch too much of it myself!
    .-= Heather @ Book Addiction´s last blog ..My first vlog! =-.

    • At 2010.03.07 17:53, Ti said:

      Hope everything is okay.

      I don’t watch too much TV. It’s on all the time but it’s just background noise to me. Sometimes at lunch I will watch Paula Dean and Ina if my lunch break happens to fall during that time but usually that’s my reading time so I don’t do that too often.

      Today I am watching all the Oscar stuff. I grew up in Hollywood. I sort of have to. It’s in my blood.
      .-= Ti´s last blog ..The Sunday Salon: Eatin’ and Readin’ =-.

      • At 2010.03.07 18:31, Natalie said:

        ohhh, there’s big controversy out here on the east coast (last i heard). the cable company is in a dispute with abc and the oscars won’t be broadcast in the ny metro area. everyone here is out of luck–keep us posted! 🙂

      • At 2010.03.07 18:32, Michelle @ The True Book Addict said:

        I hope things are going better for you and yours now. Admittedly, I admire people who do not watch TV. I am just too in love with my shows to give it up completely. However, I have cut back. I spend most of my time in my library now and the TV in here does not have satellite. So I’m not constantly channel surfing. The shows on cable that I do want to watch I record and watch later. This also cuts down on TV time because I can fast forward through the commercials. Maybe someday I can follow your example…when I get more willpower! LOL!

        Again, I’m keeping your family in my thoughts and I hope things are improving for you.
        .-= Michelle @ The True Book Addict´s last blog ..Favorite Fictional Character–Bridget Jones =-.

        • At 2010.03.07 19:04, softdrink said:

          I hope everything is okay!

          I let Hamburger have full control of the remote, since I can usually tune out the tv while I’m reading.
          .-= softdrink´s last blog ..Possibly the longest post ever =-.

          • At 2010.03.07 19:20, Connie said:

            I like to have Haunted History or some such on in the background whilst I tinker about…my husband always have a tv on…I tune it out and focus on books and other things. Still love some Food Network, my ghost shows etc.

            hugs to you and prayers for strength to see you and your family through the tough times! xoxoxox
            .-= Connie´s last blog ..A Stitch in Time =-.

            • At 2010.03.07 21:03, Jenners said:

              I”m so sorry to hear you are going through this stressful time. I hope everything gets better for you.

              And I imagine it would be mindboggling to see what it out there on TV now. And do they have a DVR you can use? That brings it to a whole new level .. recording the shows and then fast-forwarding through commercials.

              I hope things get better for you soon and you get back to your first love of reading. Be well!
              .-= Jenners´s last blog ..Show Me 5 Saturday: "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See =-.

              • At 2010.03.07 22:05, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

                I hope all is well with you and yours.

                • At 2010.03.07 23:55, Esme said:

                  I hope that your life is settling down and you have time to read. Tv is when I am just to tired to turn a page.
                  .-= Esme´s last blog ..Oyster Mushroom Gravy =-.

                  • At 2010.03.07 23:57, Colleen (Books in the City) said:

                    I am sorry to hear you are going through a tough time! I hope your reading brings comfort – at least as much as TV did over the past two weeks!
                    .-= Colleen (Books in the City)´s last blog ..The Book Oscars =-.

                    • At 2010.03.08 00:31, bybee said:

                      I’ve been going through a TV phase myself, but it’s not related to a stressful event. Well, maybe it is…Gotta say: I’m not one of those bookworms that are TV snobs. If it’s in English, I’m watching it and you wouldn’t believe how nicely the remote fits my hand.
                      .-= bybee´s last blog ..Can’t Count This? =-.

                      • At 2010.03.08 07:00, Beth F said:

                        Oh no. I hope things get better for you. Because I read all day for work and then read some more for pleasure, we watch a movie or a DVD or an old TV series almost every night after about 9:00. Sometimes TV just works.
                        .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Featuring . . . The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama =-.

                        • At 2010.03.08 11:16, Meg said:

                          So sorry to hear you’re going through a difficult time — sending you hugs and lots of good vibes!

                          I totally know what you mean about typically escaping in a book… only to find that your mind is anywhere but on a page. TV is excellent for shutting your brain off and just losing yourself in something mindless! I watch Food Network religiously and usually have it playing in the background, even if I’m not focused on it. “Pawn Stars” is a favorite, too — my dad and I never miss an episode! It gets me thinking about all the old junk in my room… and whether I could make a quick buck on it! Probably not, as my luck goes. 🙂
                          .-= Meg´s last blog ..Pam Jenoff: Fear and Loathing — The Three Scariest Moments In A Writer’s Life =-.

                          • At 2010.03.08 13:42, Allie said:

                            I hope everything is okay! Sorry to hear you’ve had such a rough time!

                            I have to admit that TV is often my drug of choice when it comes to tuning everything out.
                            .-= Allie´s last blog ..I totally want to produce a 10 Minute Booty Blast-Off Cardio Atomic Kickboxing Yoga-lates video =-.

                            • At 2010.03.08 16:07, vivienne said:

                              I hope everything sorts itself out soon with your family. You have been missed, but we will still be here when things get better. So don’t worry and take it easy.
                              .-= vivienne´s last blog ..Typically British Challenge Wrap Up and Competition Nearly Closing. =-.

                              • At 2010.03.08 23:35, Valerie said:

                                Hope things get better, whatever it is. ((hugs)).

                                I rarely watch TV at all, but definitely have had the stress when I can’t read. That’s when I end up surfing the net instead ;-P.

                                Take care….
                                .-= Valerie´s last blog ..Three Awesome Books by Danny Gregory =-.

                                • At 2010.03.09 18:58, Aths said:

                                  I admit that TV can be a better therapy than books for me too, if I turn it on. You don’t need much concentration to focus on it, unlike reading, when you have something bothersome in your head!

                                  • At 2010.03.09 21:44, Jess - A Book Hoarder said:

                                    I hope things get better for you. I’m glad it is settling enough that you can enjoy reading again.

                                    I love TV I can not tell a lie. I have to agree with everyone about the DVRs. I’m all about watching shows on MY time and skipping commercials, and it’s a control issue. I remember being in 6th grade and my dad yelled at me for having the TV on while I was reading because he thought I wasn’t watching it. He just didn’t understand that if I didn’t do both at once I was sure to miss something.
                                    .-= Jess – A Book Hoarder´s last blog ..Arcadia Falls – Carol Goodman =-.

                                    • At 2010.03.10 15:14, Kari said:

                                      HGTV is an addiction. I want Sandra from Property Virgins to guide me to my first house. I love her!
                                      .-= Kari´s last blog ..The thermometer hit 60! Break out the books! =-.

                                      • At 2010.03.10 16:45, Alita said:

                                        So sorry to hear you’re going through such a tough time. I hope things start to look up soon.

                                        As far as TV addictions go, it could be worse. Not too long ago I realized I was addicted to *gulp* MTV. I know, I am so ashamed. Fortunately, I was able to get myself out of that Situation and realize that I do not need to watch each episode of The Hills multiple times. Or a single time, for that matter.

                                        There are a few shows, however, that I do love watching when I just need to wind down and entertain my brain. Friends, Gilmore Girls, The Office, and Big Bang Theory are my old standbys 🙂
                                        .-= Alita´s last blog ..Quick Thoughts: Two Books of Fives =-.

                                        • At 2010.03.11 00:30, Lisa said:

                                          Hope things are getting better. My husband watches t.v. from the time dinner is over until he goes to bed. There are a lot of great things on but he has saved me from watching most of them by refusing to watch anything straight through. I used to try to watch, but I have almost entirely been able to teach myself to read right through his channel surfing.
                                          .-= Lisa´s last blog ..James and the Giant Peach =-.

                                          • At 2010.03.11 19:29, Jennifer said:

                                            I have to admit that college has made me a TV addict. As much as I love the world of books, sometimes, I need a break from reading. Plus, I feel like TV can be so addicting – once you meet those characters you are socially invested. Still, when I’m not busy and I just want to relax, it’s definitely books I turn too. But sometimes, you just have to go for what you know is bad for you.
                                            .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Review: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James =-.

                                            • At 2010.03.12 11:47, sammy25 said:

                                              I’m sorry to hear about your temporary move 🙁 I, too, am in love with the Food Network!!!!!!! And we both love the same chefs 🙂 As for next week I will join your ranks and be tvless…at least cableless (pending my move as well!) and I’m hoping it will kick start reading magazines that have fallen by the wayside! I hope all is well!
                                              .-= sammy25´s last blog ..“I want to play a little game……..” =-.

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