Facing the two big monsters of addiction that have me in their pitbull maw: 20+ hours of tv watching a week and obsessive nightly eating.
The latter I've approached from a thousand different angles, and still the beast outfoxes me. The poptart (a nature's way organic one, but really what's the difference?) still finds it's way into my gullet. The popcorn gets popped and happily devoured with peanut chocolate candies. The scale tips at 184. I am spilling out of the very largest of my clothes. I wheeze. And still I eat.
The former shocks me with how tight its hold on me is. How heartfelt is the emotion that runs, the affection I have for the people that live on in tv-land. That zen cop and his fierce chick partner from "Life". The kids on "Kid Nation". Nancy Botwin in "Weeds". Hank from "Californication". Nick from "Dirty, Sexy Money". Denny Crane and Alan Shore from "Boston Legal". And of course every single member of "30 Rock" and "My Name is Earl". I can see the lives they live, their families, the moods they go through. And I think: I spend three hours a night watching them live their lives while I lay on a couch laughing and crying along with them, and never, not once, do they look into my life. I can see each of their faces so clearly in my mind's eye, and yet never, ever do those eyes look into mine.
I don't feel lonely in my life. I'm not unhappy. But my body feels heavy and sluggish and I have obesity related symptoms kicking in - joint pain, a wonky knee, alternating pains in liver and pancreas and spleen. And I wonder: what would I be doing with those 20 or so hours a week if I weren't prone on the couch, snacking, and snuggling kitties?
This past Monday I cancelled the cable. All of it. When I got that full-time job back in September I treated myself to a big package with HBO and Showtime and dvr so that I could record and play back and rewind and all of those fantastical whatnots that digital cable provides. But now, with my income so far greatly diminished, spending $80 a month seemed extravagant. And so I cancelled it. Even the basic stuff because I figured: if I need to watch something I can watch it online now that the networks provide episodes for free on their websites.
I took the digital cable box back, but in rehooking the tv and the dvd player back up I noticed that the cable channels still came through. Same thing on Wednesday. And Thursday. Friday, Saturday, still working. And I settled back into the groove of couch and clicker, kitties and snacks. It was as if I kicked heroin, but the pusherman said: hey, no problemo, I'll just give it to you for free. Because really, how does one turn it down for free? And if you are an addict, how do you not just jack that sh*t right into your head?
Until today. As of today, no more tv. Not even snow with faint background noises. And the sugary wheaty snacks are all gone. What's left is space. Lots and lots of empty space and time before me . . .
The apartment is seriously funky, fur balls and dust flittering about the floors. Stacks of unread books are piled here and there. The medicine bags I'm sewing sit ready to be put together. The unfinished novel waits in it's electronic folder. The bike leans against the outside wall of my apartment. The neighbor's dogs itch for some company, a ball thrown, a walk around the park, a trek to the dunes. The beaches lie a ten minute drive away.
But tonight just feels so very weird. The habit of passivity still asserts itself. I write this from the couch, in the very place that I usually watch tv.
For days now, The Matrix has been on my mind. "The matrix has you . . . no one can tell you what the matrix is, you have to see it for yourself . . . I used to eat there, they had really good noodles . . . you lay awake at night, searching with your computer . . . welcome to the real world . . . your eyes hurt because you've never used them . . . " On and on.
Maybe tonight I'll cheat a little and watch The Matrix . . .
Like this post . . . drifting, drifting . . .