Zero to 8,000 Channels in One Afternoon

Well, Ron’s determination to get our TV up and working before September 1st (due to the start of Ramadan) won out and last week we got two satellite dishes installed, hooked up the Mac Mini and linked to Ron’s extremely-gracious sister and brother-in-law in New Jersey, giving us access to their Direct TV and to more television than we could ever watch in a lifetime.

Now, in essence, it’s been over four months that we haven’t had any TV and I really was quite happy with just our DVD collection. But Ron is one of those strange folk who actually likes to know what’s going on in the world around us, so his lack of access to news shows was started to wear on him (the Internet just wasn’t as fulfilling – I think it’s the lack of a remote). So we now have buckets of news channels to surf between (and they’re all so happy and hopeful, who can choose), however, despite having our 8,000 channels, my standing complaint about cable/satellite TV, well, still stands. Out of those 8,000 channels I may watch about five, and of those five, I’m lucky if two are showing something I’m remotely interested in watching at that moment. It’s not that I’m a TV snob. It’s, well, I’m a recovering addict and an active member of E.D.A. (El Diablo Anonymous).

See, it all started back around 2000. I was working full-time at the law firm (which meant 60-80 hours a week), and I’d just started grad school at GW. Around the same time I just happen to find that El Diablo had taken up residence in my apartment, for free. Essentially I was frenetically moving around furniture (as I used to do) and found a cable coming out of the wall where a bookcase used to be. I plugged it into my TV, hoping that it would at least improve the reception of the six local channels I got, but instead it opened a portal into the wonderful glorious never-ending ever-changing completely-stupifying world of cable TV. And I loved it. I couldn’t get enough crap TV, and luckily there was more than I could dream of. “Real World” marathons, “Road Rules” marathons, the grandchildren of reality-TV’s Adam and Eve. “House Invaders,” “Clean Sweep,” “Trading Spaces,” you name it, I loved it. Animal Planet was one of the worst. I actually remember being late to work one morning because a capybara was ambling through the forest and I couldn’t look away. I was flushed with excitement – would he take a swim or would he have a little scratch? It didn’t matter. I could not have been more delighted.

Needless to say, it was a problem, but one I adored. Luckily, like a dreadful boyfriend you just can’t seem to dump, or a rash that just won’t go away, El Diablo just left me one morning. No note, no nothing, just dead air. I mourned for a few minutes, I’ll admit it; maybe went into a mini-panic mode (I mean, my mornings were timed around the “Buffy” re-runs), but I snapped back into REAL reality mode, looked at the looming stack of forensic textbooks I was behind on, opened the windows for some fresh air, and resumed life as B.E.D. (Before El Diablo). There may have been a few evenings of hopeful channel surfing, but El Diablo had left the building. And I got my Masters degree. All in all, a fair trade.

So you see, I have confessed my weaknesses to Ron and asked for his help and strength in resisting E.D. – though, from my initial few days re-introduction I think the attraction may be lost. I will enjoy my five channels, but I will fight any attempt at life-overthrow – providing there are no capybara bits, of course.