Road Rants

How many hours is it that the stats say the TV blares and bloviates in the average American home?

For three mornings, I’ve dressed in the dark and slipped out of our motel room to the lobby with my laptop while Ann sleeps. I have the large breakfast nook all to myself for the first two hours and it seems like at the end of that, I should have finished a thought.

But the TV in the corner stays on 24-7. Blah blah blah ab-buster, blah blah God wants you rich blahblah Ice Cream Sandwich PopTarts! This morning, I turned the One Eyed Brain Sucker off until the dweeb in charge flicks it back on and everybody’s ability to think-converse-create-remember-process drops 75%.

Wasn’t it Noreiga that they drove from his last hideout by playing obnoxious music (I’m thinking Osmonds or Manilow but I could be wrong)? They could have gotten results faster just playing this wide-screen TV from the Wingate hotel lobby–Weapons of Mass Cacophony, new episodes coming this fall.

Yes, we’re sheltered and don’t get out much. I’m remembering why there’s no place like home. Slow is beautiful.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. You need one of those remote gadgets that turn off any and all TVs. (Although, in this case, the employee probably would have kept turning it back on.) They are generally used with some subterfuge (in a pocket), and are designed for people like us, who cannot stand that constant, mind-numbing, meaningless sound….the quietude-obliterating menace of the dreaded TV. Far too many public places have TVs, as if using one’s snippets of spare time for the purpose of thinking was inconceivable….or as if they have to offer such “entertainment” to the TV-addicted populace.

  2. I turn off TVs in doctor’s offices’, car dealerships and any other place there is a waiting room. It is all insane. I believe this attempt of media brain washing began in the 60s with elevator music and rapidly moved forward trying to capture our senses. My house has no TV and hardly any radio playing and I love it. My suggestion would be for people to try to live without a radio or TV for a month to get in touch with listening, thinking and hearing at the 100% level. . They might find they have a new life. — barbara

  3. When you live w ith someone who watches a lot fo TV and you watch little, and your house is an “open design” you must adapt and learn to tune it out. Miraculously, I have been given the ability to do this. Of course, I have a single track mind that can only do one thing, so tuning out what isn’t my current activity is easy for me.

  4. I remember those lovely days when the TV (all three channels) went off at midnight with a comforting ‘Goodnight’ and didn’t return until late the next morning

  5. The most obnoxious is the continuous loop at my dentist’s office, showing me the benefits of cosmetic dentistry over and over and over again. I always request that it be turned off when I’m in the chair.

  6. We cancelled our TV service a while back and haven’t missed it. We rent movies from time to time, but it mostly stays off unless we have guests over specifically to watch a movie, or when we need to keep some of their kids entertained for a while. The most TV I’ve watched in a long time came while watching some World Cup at a local Mexican restaurant a couple weeks ago.

  7. Oh, Fred, how I feel your pain! One goes to Starbucks and the music is blaring so loudly one has to use ear plugs. Or go to a restaurant, where you have six different TVs going on different channels but the sound isn’t there, and you have rock music playing. Ugh!!! And…. I believe they drove Noriega out by playing Metallica (?).

  8. I find the TV annoying, too. I only have one and have it in a room where I don’t normally go unless I want to watch it. You have to harness that cyclops 🙂

    Radio can be just as bad, but one thing I have noticed is that some radio is worse than others. Listening to something like BBC Radio 4, for example, where they talk calmly, in a moderated voice, and where the dynamic range hasn’t been highly compressed so that there’s little difference between the quietest and loudest sounds is completely different from the vast majority of stations that are shouting at you all day, even if they don’t intend to be.