Back in the days of real television — the kind that was broadcast through the air to TVs outfitted with antennas — our choices about what to watch were limited to what the networks opted to show that night. Today, our choices are nothing short of staggering. There is so much on at any given moment that we couldn’t begin to watch it all. The advent of unlimited, on demand, streaming media has given us the gift of choice, but how to choose?
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.
Recently, C and I shuffled off to Buffalo for a short visit with family. Leaving Brattleboro is always an adventure, partly because we hardly ever do it and never know what we’ll find out there. This time, it seemed as though everywhere you looked, the future was being installed, and folks, it wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was almost scary.
Our first jolt of the new normal came in the outer Albany area where we’ve been stopping at McDonald’s for years for a quick bite before we hit the Thruway. This time, there was only one young woman at the counter with maybe 5 or 6 customers in the lobby.