For many years, I thought being a couch potato was a function of personality — some people are couch potatoes, some aren’t. I even felt virtuous about how much more productive I was not spending hours laying around watching tv. It never occurred to me to ask why I was so virtuous until I got a sofa myself, one positioned in a living room with a screen in front of it. Then I knew — my previous self hadn’t been a couch potato because she hadn’t had a couch.
Having a comfy sofa to sit on while watching tv is clearly a precursor to being a couch potato. In my case, it has overcome any sense that I might want to do anything else. It’s just too easy to watch another episode of something or other. And so, night after night, that’s what I do. I tell myself I’m tired, that it was a long day, and other half truths. But really, it’s the couch. It brings out my inner sloth, and once ensconced there in that dangerous hour after dinner, I generally don’t budge ‘til bedtime.
Although I’ve joined the ranks of the couch potatoes, I still don’t think it’s a great thing to do. I would love it if I could find a way to be more productive in the evening and make better use of those few precious hours. To assuage my conscience, I sometimes knit, since knitting is one of the few things you can do while ostensibly watching tv. Of course, you end up mostly listening to rather than watching it, but you can add inches to your knitting.
If I can’t manage even that level of activity, I try to watch something educational. This is a dodge too — do I really need to know about the art of ancient cultures or the history of Afghanistan? Well, yes and no, but in the end, not really. Alas, the real story is that my sofa has sucked me in and it won’t let go.
I’m surprised there’s not a support group for this sort of thing, like Sofa Addicts of America or Couch Potatoes Anonymous. But I think for most people, taking it easy after working all day is normal, not a reason for feeling guilty. It’s two hours of wasted time, no doubt, but it sure feels good.
Perhaps when the warmer weather returns, I’ll regain at least a sliver of my former virtue and find something else to do in the evenings. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying my newfound normalcy whilst sitting on the sofa watching tv like everybody else.