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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Watch TV

I didn't get enough sleep the other night. If I sleep through the night (which seldom happens), I can function on nine hours of sleep. But that's my absolute minimum. If I'm awake in the night, I need more than that. This is why I typically am in bed at least twelve hours out of the day. If I don't get enough sleep, migraines are an absolute guarantee.

Because I had only managed to scrape together seven hours of interrupted sleep yesterday, I found myself in damage control mode, trying to make my day go as gently as possible to void jostling my already stressed brain. The dog and I spent a pleasant three hours or so dozing and snuggling on the couch, but then she opted to abandon me in favor of basking in the sunshine streaming into the front room. I thought to join her, but found that even when not directly in the sunlight, my eyes were too light-sensitive, even without an active headache, to tolerate spending time there. I read a little bit, but found it a hard slog because my mind had lost its agility and acuity. I loathed to shut myself in my darkened bedroom where I'd spent far more time than I would like in the last couple of weeks. The time needed to be passed somehow, so I decided that I should watch TV shows on my computer for the rest of the day.

"I should watch TV."

I've become accustomed to my small and homebound way of living and strive to be unapologetic about the choices I make to cope with the disabling effects of my headaches, but every once and a while, I am struck by the absurdity of it. My life has become an inversion, in many ways, of a normal life. The refrain is usually, "I shouldn't be watching TV," and it's all about guilt. "I shouldn't be watching TV because I have all this work that needs to be done." "I shouldn't be watching TV when there are so many other constructive ways of spending my time." In my world, though, I shouldn't write, I shouldn't work on photo projects, I shouldn't read, I shouldn't cook or clean, I shouldn't exercise, I shouldn't walk the dog, I shouldn't socialize, I shouldn't leave the house, I shouldn't even get dressed in something other than pajamas. What I should do, if I know what's good for me, is to sit down and spend the next five hours watching "Law & Order."

Talk about weird.

And rather galling, too, considering that I grew up without a television and was always rather proud of the fact. I had plenty of ways of entertaining or relaxing myself and never felt the need to have one, not when there were books to be read! I'm very glad that I still don't have a television (TV commercials are hell on migraines), but I am quite grateful that I am able to stream TV shows on my computer. The twelve hours of the day must be filled somehow and when reading--once an effortless activity for me--is too much of a strain and I need to keep my physical activity to a minimum, television really comes in handy.

(For the record, I've been on a "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" kick lately because it isn't visually dramatic, the music is subtle, it isn't too heavy on the gore, and in the course of 43 minutes, unlike in my life, a resolution is reached with a criminal almost always brought to justice. Also, there are eleven seasons available to stream on Netflix, so even if I watch several a day, it will take some time before I exhaust the supply of episodes.)

In the world out there, the bright, noisy, busy, hectic, active world beyond my window that I cannot be a part of, people are trying to turn off the TV, trying to be more productive, trying to use their time constructively, trying to get more done, trying to be better, trying to be perfect. Me, I'm trying, not always with great success, not to do anything at all. And now, having spent my day's allotment of brain power in writing this, I'm off to watch TV.

The video accompanying this song is migraine-inducing, but am sharing nonetheless because I'm often reminded of Rasputina's "Watch TV" (especially the line "It makes me better") when I must resort to television to pass my days.

To follow what I do when not watching TV, visit my Facebook page!

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