So the past month or so with all of my television troubles, I've been in a bit of a funk.
Part of it was just the PITA factor of having a big unresolved problem to deal with, but there's also another nagging issue that's been eating at me.
When the television broke, I was sorta thinking that it would be a good opportunity for me to "simplify" a bit. Not that I wasn't planning on either fixing or replacing it, but I thought perhaps it would be a good opportunity to explore simpler kinds of entertainment like reading and listening to the radio.
Listening to the radio I actually found to be quite enjoyable, the problem is that other than music and mumbo-jumbo talk shows, there just isn't a lot of good programming out there on the radio these days! I did discover that I really liked listening to Monday Night Football, but that was about it.
Reading, on the other hand... Oy!
Now I know that this sorta falls into the category of simple living blasphemy, but the truth is that I just HATE to read.
OK... perhaps "hate" is a strong word, but reading is something that has been a life long struggle for me. I spent years in summer school and special reading classes, and honestly, none of it really helped. The basic conclusion of all of my teachers was that I was just lazy and not concentrating.
And, since anything other than academic excellence was really not an option in my family, that meant that I just had to push myself harder. Which I did.
But by the time I was in college the misery factor was getting pretty darned high.
I can recall many late nights when I had to lock myself into a closet-sized study room, and walk in small circles reading out loud to myself, just to have some hope of comprehending anything.
And don't EVEN get me started on those horrific microfilm machines! I'm sure some of you are too young to remember that particular form of torture, but basically, anything that was published in a journal was only available on microfilm.
And to find the right article you had to fast forward through the pages which would zip along from right to left causing a nausea disaster for anyone like me who happens to be sensitive to those sorts of issues.
More than once I had to stop and go puke in the bathroom because it was like motion sickness on steroids!
Over the years I've tried many times to get to a place where I could enjoy reading, and on occasion, when there's something that I really, really want to read, I have found that I can enjoy it, even though it still takes great effort. Still, it's more of a case of enjoying the information despite the fact that I had to suffer through the reading in order to get it, if that makes any sense.
I almost wonder if I might not have a mild case of dyslexia, or some sort of an eye-tracking problem, since I have terrible trouble keeping my place and almost always have to read with a piece of paper covering the lines below the one I'm reading, so that I don't skip lines or inadvertently end up back on the one that I just read.
This is why I prefer blogs where people separate their writing into paragraphs that are no more than 5-6 lines long, because otherwise, I just have a really hard time following it.
And this whole idea that good readers always talk about how they can somehow look at a page and magically divine the information without ever having to think about the words... well, I'm not saying that they're lying, but seriously, I can't even conceive of how that could be possible!
Honestly, even on my best days, reading is basically a process of reading aloud to myself in my head, and the comprehension simply does not occur until I can hear the words in my head.
Anyhow, here's the deal. I've spent nearly 5 decades on this planet so far, and I'm just getting really, REALLY tired of beating myself up over this issue. So I have decided to make peace with myself.
I'm not saying that I'm NEVER going to try to read another book, but I think I just need to drop the whole judgmental idea that people who read are somehow good and noble, and people who prefer to watch movies are just lazy good-for-nothin's!
And I'm also starting to think that perhaps instead of seeing my reading difficulties as some sort of a curse, or as evidence that something's wrong with me, perhaps I need to start to honor it as one of the things that allowed me to become the person that I am today.
After all, if I'd been a good reader, I might never have discovered other things that I dearly love, like music and sports.
And if I hadn't been so utterly miserable in college, I might not have ever had the guts to reject a more conventional life and to choose a simpler path.
OK! So there you have it. I think I may go lay on the couch and watch something on Netflix now... with No Shame!
So tell me, are you a book person or a movie person? Does any of this resonate for anybody else out there?