Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I Quit TV But I Can’t Quit Watching Trump

As published in The Huffington Post

Episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia from 2014 remain un-viewed on my DVR, and I didn’t know the Oprah Winfrey Network existed until yesterday. I have quit TV, or to be specific, I have quit watching programming with story arcs.

I just don’t have the tolerance to commit to shows any more. I prefer watching movies because the story ends in two instead of 100 hours. I would rather research the health benefits of a squat toilet than starting a new series. But sometimes being out of touch with pop culture poses social challenges.

Last month, two coworkers and I were still in the office at 7 p.m. That isn’t unusual—we work in federal communications and sometimes the agency director or the president of the U.S. makes an abrupt policy change that forces us to scramble to inform the public. In this case, Alison, Margaret and I were definitely done working and we were also hungry. Before we could even get to the point of deciding which D.C. Chinatown restaurant to visit, I stood watching my friends banter about The Walking Dead. And Fear the Walking Dead. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yes, still). And shows I’d never heard of and can’t repeat because I forgot them as soon as their titles touched my tympanic membrane.

At first I chimed in to say things like, “Who is that?” and, “That’s the name of a TV show?” Then, I felt too inadequate to enter the conversation. I just stood there waiting until Alison and Margaret tired of standing. Thirty minutes later, we began walking towards the door and eventually to a little sandwich place. The thing is, my coworkers were never done discussing television.

TV is always one of the most popular topics of discussion for my friends. Even if initially my friends and I discuss something else at first, someone steers the conversation to TV. With shows at the forefront of their minds, that transition is simple.

Transforming from an active conversationalist to a bystander is annoying but I accept it because it means I can log more films. I accept never seeing a single episode of Westworld or Stranger Things or whatever the hottest new show is. But somehow going a day without seeing news on Donald Trump is unfathomable because this election has been the greatest real-life story arc of our time. Keep reading I Quit TV But I Can’t Quit Watching Trump

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During the first presidential debate, while in a room full of 15 others who say they are fanatical about politics, this was the scene from my perspective. See more of my Instagram photos.

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