I am beginning to truly believe I belong to a totally different species than the majority of beings around me. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying I'm better than anybody else, just different.
Names of people that mean so much to so many others hold no fascination for me, and other names have no meaning whatsoever. Probably the key element in my disassociation is that for the past ten years, I have managed to survive without access to more than two television stations. These days, in fact, I'm down to one.
It's not that our igloos up here in Canada don't have cable, or even satellite dishes; hell you need a dish for talking on the phone in parts of the Artic. The two issues that have kept television and me pretty amicably separated for the past decade are lack of money and lack of interest.
When my wife and I first got together ten years ago, we didn't have much money coming in. After drawing up a budget that would see us through a month, we decided we'd rather spend the money on other things each month rather than cable. We had each other for company at nights, so we decided we didn't need to park our butts in front of a T.V. and we both had plenty of other interests anyway. That doesn't mean we haven't kept a television, because we have, but we use it solely for watching movies via either our VCR or our DVD player.
In the year prior to us living together, I had an apartment that had come with cable. To be honest, I had a difficult time making the transition to a television-free environment. One can become dependant on passive, spoon-fed entertainment just as easily as you can any soporific. But in a far shorter time than it took me to shake off the withdrawal from some other drugs, I was living without it quite contentedly. In those initial television-free days, I wasn't aware of the chasm I was building between myself and others because the people I was around didn't watch television either.
The job I had at the time had no co-employees requiring me to make small talk, so I had no one else's life to serve as a contrast to mine. It wasn't until I took a position at a small denture factory with about 30 co-workers that I understood the integral part that television plays in so many people's lives as a focal point for conversation.
I started work there during the first episodes of Survivor and can still remember the bewilderment I felt when I overheard my first conversation about the show. I also still remember the looks the two women gave me when I asked what the show's directors did with the other six days and twenty-three hours of video they shot if this was supposedly real.