Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Living With Irrational Beliefs"

This story could easily be filed under: “Old Guy Bewildered By New Technology.” But my interest today lies elsewhere.

Of course, I am bewildered by new technology. Though that’s not necessarily an age thing. I have contemporaries who revel in every new invention and “app” that comes along. I, on the other hand, feel like I was sick when the innovations started to happen, the upgrades kept coming, and I fell further and further behind. So I gave up.

I have a cell phone, but more than ninety per cent of the time, it just sits on a counter in my kitchen, “recharging.” You can tell how much I use my cell phone by the bill – eighteen dollars and forty-three cents a month. Which, when you think about it, is a substantial sum for something that just sits in your kitchen. My sink doesn’t cost anything.

And then there’s TiVo. TiVo’s not new. We bought the recording device almost as soon as it came out. I even used it for a while. But then I started getting electronic “letters”, saying something was wrong with the system and I didn’t understand what they were talking about but I know something was wrong – because they told me something was wrong – so I didn’t use it anymore.

My daughter, Anna, who doesn’t live here anymore, would come over and TiVo stuff she likes, which explains the accumulated episodes of Gossip Girl and 90210. That was another reason I stopped TiVoing. The recording apparatus was out of space.

The truth is, I wouldn’t have Tivoed anything if I didn’t get disquieting “letters” and there was space on the recording apparatus. The real issue is this. I want to watch shows when they’re actually on the air. The idea of watching shows when you feel like watching them? I’m not comfortable with that.

I happen to believe there’s a difference between watching shows when they’re scheduled, and watching them after they’ve been broadcast. (Maybe if they invented a machine where you could watch shows before they’ve been broadcast, I might buy one, but before you race into your garage and invent one, I’m telling you, I’m not making any promises.)

Here’s one problem. There’s a show you really want to see, but for some reason you’re unavailable for its original broadcast, so you TiVo it.

Now you’re available. You can watch what you TiVoed. The thing is, while you’re watching the TiVoed show, you’re missing a show that they’re broadcasting now.

You can TiVo the show you’re missing, but when you watch it, you’ll be missing something else. And it goes on and on and on.

You’ll never catch up. It’s impossible.

Admittedly, there are times when there’s nothing on TV you want to watch. You could watch your TiVoed show then. The question is, during that time, what would you have been doing instead? You’re always doing something, even if it’s taking a nap. You watch your TiVoed show, and what happens to the nap? You’re caught up in your television viewing, but you’re one nap behind. And if you needed that nap, you could easily fall asleep watching the show. Then you have to watch it again, and you’re even further behind.

Another thing. Even though America’s not sitting your the living room with you, there’s still the sense that, “Millions of people are watching this show, just like I am.” It’s an exhilarating feeling. A nation, watching together.

You watch with millions; you watch alone. Are you telling me that’s the same thing?

And when it comes to ballgames, don’t even talk to me about it. I would never watch a game that had already been played. I know the advantages. You can “fast forward” through the boring parts and the commercials. With Lakers games, I could “fast forward” to the final two seconds, and watch Kobe Bryant take the deciding shot. I admit, watching two seconds is better than slogging through two and a half hours that take you to the same moment. I just can’t do it.

That game is over. People know the final score. They’ve moved on to other things. And so have the players. They’re out with girls. The win, the loss, it’s already been recorded. And I’m just sitting down to watch it? The game has entirely lost its meaning.

To me, watching a previously broadcast show, especially a ballgame, there’s a distinct “old meat” smell to it. The odor of “over.” I don’t want that odor in my house.

I’m aware that what I’m saying is irrational. But I believe it. Which brings me to my point.

I’ve heard myself, in reference to the political arena, go nuts over people who truly believe things that make no sense whatsoever. I’m incredulous at how they can do such a thing.

It turns out, it’s not that hard.

No comments: