Break-ups are always tough. Even the unconventional break-ups, the ones we suffer through, even those with social media sources and other guilty pleasures. Just remember Facebook will never forget you. And Facebook always wants you back. Its presence or absence will be a constant reminder of what you are missing out on (nothing) because you will hear everyone around you talking about “friending,” “liking,” “posting.” The new verbs of our century. I’m not breaking up with Facebook, at least not yet, because having a blog becomes a greater committed relationship with the greater connections of the universe, the often brief, meaningless interactions we get fed through instant synapses of the world wide web. We are gathered around the new fire: screens, computer or phone, that beckon with that familiar lambent glow: the promise of perfect bodies, celebrity gossip. Now: pornography on your phone, quotes, weird pets, and documentaries on everyone’s private life, now made public. It’s love and hate, this new relationship of connection, and I accept its necessary evil.
But I am breaking up with Netflix.
This time of year is hard on me. I want to sleep all day. I suffer through a version of Seasonal Affective Disorder that zaps my energy, encourages a state of depression, and a cycle of guilt starts: I want to sleep all day, but I have so much to do! A long list of projects, goals, deadlines to finish. I procrastinate, I make fake promises to myself. I eat too much, figuring tomorrow I will go to the gym, get motivated, have more energy. On a particularly bad day recently (I realize it’s the holidays, but there is really no excuse for watching movies and napping all day) I was scanning the Netflix streaming selection and discovered the evil inside my seemingly innocent computer: GLEE. After watching, I don’t know, seven or eight episodes about high school students that sing and dance and get pregnant, I realized the slippery slope that was becoming too steep, and I wanted out. Sure they are cute and certainly catchy, but I want to write a novel and poems about heaven, read Kafka, learn more about German wine, and be a healthy, productive, happy person. So I am breaking up with DVD’s evil twin. No longer will I be able to lounge in my own lazy bones with hours of unlimited movie possibilities. I compromised to accept only DVDs in the mail, sometimes those red envelopes are enough to cheer up an otherwise drab day. This way I’m limited to two hours of show time instead of six, or seven. That’s way too much time spent, lost to a mind-numbing narrative of any sort. It’s funny because I don’t have cable TV, or watch TV in that old conventional way, at least that’s what I have claimed. Let’s be honest, I watch too much TV, and admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right? Take that, Netflix, I’m kicking you off the couch, and out of the bed.