Random Thoughts on a Sunny Sunday
How many days does it take to prepare for Christmas?

Friday Night, Alone

When I got home from work yesterday afternoon, there was no fourteen-year-old who greeted me by closing the door to her bedroom but then popping out a few minutes later to ask what’s to eat, nor was there a Maltese named Poops who jumped up and danced on his hind legs when he saw me. There was only the dining room table with its self-created collection of piles to greet me. It's his weekend with them both.

I unpacked the bag of groceries that I bought for my evening at home, trying to ignore the silence by turning on the radio. I put away the frozen pizza and the two bottles of beer. After I responded to some emails, I went into my daughter’s room, piled her clothes on a chair as I had done when I was her age instead of the floor mounds that she prefers, arranged her five pillows on her bed, lay down, and lifted up the remote for what would be hours of unending numbness. It’s not that my job is so hard that I need to unwind so intensely, perhaps it’s because I don’t watch tv other than those Friday nights (okay, the occasional Saturday night if I’ve been grading or on the computer for too long—I think I need a “life”) but it is time that enables me to detach from my mind. Perhaps this is how I meditate. Sometimes it gets hard to think and be aware.

So there I was, on a hot pink sheet for hours watching Say Yes to the Dress and House Hunters International. The thought of why it is always those two programs that I return to kept trying to break into my mindlessness. Is it because I like to see people so happy, so ready to step into another phase of their lives, that I want to become a voyeur? Is it that I wish that for myself and so I live vicariously through them? Maybe it’s a bit of both; maybe I’m anticipating more change. But it’s also that there is nothing else that I can settle my mind onto. I cannot watch the news or opinion shows because I’m tired of listening to people open and close their mouths repeatedly without saying anything. (I don’t ignore the news, I still read mine.) I know, I know, I’m sure some of my students say that about me [especially the ones who wrote “I hate this class” on my “What I Want to Do This Year” sign on the backboard before I ripped it off in a moment that combined hurt and bitchiness (no one was there to witness this act)]. And I can’t watch scripted programs because everything is so fake and contrived that I don’t see how I could ever have been compelled to watch so much falsity in writing and acting.

How bare can I make my life? Is that why I need to watch tv every once in a while? How much can my life, a life, revolve around one’s actions and thoughts and the people one encounters? Is that why we read and watch? Is that how we expand our circle if we need it to be larger than it is in reality? Or do we need to incorporate ideas and people and images that don’t always challenge us and demand attention from us on a personal level? Do I need the numbness because there are so many people I need to care about everyday that I need to just stop sometimes? In a week I have about 185 students, each is an individual who I need—want—to understand and reach, and who I care about. Maybe it is about the job. Maybe it’s more draining than I realized. I get up in front of my classes three times a day and on religious school days, four or six times a day. And each time I’m on stage; I need to sense the audience and project, and thrust my personality out so that it meshes with the instruction. Is that why I don’t watch dramas? Not because of the corny stories and plasticine acting, but because I have too many lives to care about that I cannot expand my heart anymore?

Is this about self-preservation? Do I need to return my thoughts and cares to myself instead of always extending them and sharing them? Do I need to come back to myself at the end of the week because if I didn’t there wouldn’t be anything to share the next week? When I walk, I think. When I read, I think. When I watch, I detach. Maybe it’s not as much of a time-waster as I thought.

Where’s the remote?



Sometimes we just need to veg. That simple. Just sit and not think (which is what you have to do to watch many of the programs on television). We can't always be productive or thinking about our next move. The lifestyle shows offer a peek into the lives of others. I've watched some of the home remodel shows just to see what can be done. Not that I'd actually do it, but you never know when you might get around to remodeling that ugly bathroom.


It's difficult to adapt to changing roles. I found my first months as an empty nester a little depressing. Why aren't you working on your book? When you talk about your book, you sound like it gives you much personal satisfaction to work on it - besides I'm waiting to read it and I'm not getting any younger you know...


Altho not a fan of TV, I've taken to occasionally watching a mindless 1/2 hour sitcom in the evenings. At first I was embarrassed but now look forward to the COMPLETE zoning out. A 1/2 hour of not thinking! Bliss.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

JC, veg, yes, that's it--thinking on hold and become as a zucchini lying on the ground waiting to be picked. I'm so relieved not to have to be thinking of remodeling anything. I haven't even changed the lightbulbs in the kitchen, which I definitely need to do.

rockync, I've been so busy with work that I put the book to the side, but I need to re-prioritize my weekends so that I don't let it lay for so long. You have me on a mission now! And nothing to grade for at least a week since we just finished the first quarter.

Beth, a half-hour? That's not enough for me to get out of one zone and into another. But I need to restrict that time to just the Friday nights and not let it go onto Saturday.


I do the same thing. Usually on Sunday. I 'tune out' for a few hours just to regroup. After a week of classes and a full-time job (full of non-stop interaction with the public) I need some down time. It's a nice thing. Yesterday I worked on homework, cooked, and watched - of all things - Project Runway. I have no idea why. Eventually I switched to something on the Science Channel. But the mental vacation is such a nice (and often very needed) thing...

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Geo, Project Runway used to be my vegging time with my daughters, but without their commentary and closeness it feels sadder than it should and certainly does not invite a mental vacation. At least I can hide from people during my planning period, I don't know how you can be out there all the time saying "Have a nice day."


Laura... dear Laura... How do I handle the incessant public aspect of my job? Have you read my blog? :)


I've given up asking such deep questions. While I've downgraded my satellite subscription, there is no doubt that I need the boob tube to escape.


You write beautifully...I too am recently divorced, your words capture somehow the mostly undescribable pain and feelings of distrust twoards the world. I applaud your refusal to grow bitter, it is a very easy thing to do.


Sash, thanks for reading and commenting. I hope your post-divorce journey gives you the joy that evaded you before.

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