Friday, October 31, 2008

Almost Viceless

Since this theme was suggested, I have been wondering what on earth can I list as a vice? It's the unfortunate downside of being so close to perfect. My one cup of morning coffee is a pleasant ritual; my sweet tooth is an reflection of my sweet nature...You can only imagine what my poor husband goes through having to live with someone with no known vices.

But if I had to imagine a vice that would possibly fit into my life, I suppose it would be my hopeless, constant need for the television to be on. No one--least of all my cerebral husband--understands this. Most of the time, I don't even watch or care what is on TV, I just want it on. Of course, I watch plenty of programs, occasionally get hooked on a few and move on--but the need to have distant voices fill my home is an entirely different tale.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time alone. Not just without friends my age--but without anyone. While many children of my generation were latch key kids, being babysat by TV while parents worked; I was home alone afraid to answer the phone lest news of my brother's death greeted me. Most of my brother's first four years were spent in various hospitals. I was there with him and my mom for the greater part of those years. But those times that my mom couldn't have me along, I'd stay home alone with little chores, promising not to answer the door--no matter how hard people knocked--and not answer the phone unless it rang once, hung up and called right back again. I knew then, at the tender age of 6, that I did not like house work. Nor did I like being alone, in silence. It did not take me long to find a world of friends with stories and adventures in the safety of my home. Since my literacy level limited my reading roster, I threw myself into the stories and lives of television characters. I fell in love with storytelling of almost any kind. Once the TV was on, I could forget everything that was going on around me and drown in unlikely stories and adventures. I didn't mind staying home alone anymore.

My peaceful world was shattered soon enough though. Half a world away, where the rest of my family still lived, a revolution was tearing the country apart--disrupting everyone's lives. It would only be a matter of time before the revolution upset my newfound peace as well. Soon enough, I would learn about the stern Ayatollah, the American hostages, the exiled Shah and burning effigies. Initial fears were replaced by a fascination and new addiction. I was hooked on any bit of news. Long after my bedtime, I'd sneak out of bed and try to hear the news. Ted Koppel was my new friend. He would tell me what was going on back home in a grown up voice. Sure, he said some things that didn't make sense--even I knew better than to believe some of the things they said on his show--but I was hooked on anything news related right then.

That is how I got where I am today. Addicted to news and stories. I do not like my news mixed with stories--I'm a purist--which is why watching the news most days is like a slow form of self inflicted torture. I still like stories of any kind as long as they're told well--that is getting a little harder to find these days as well, now that everyone has a reality show. Still, I can't let go of the need to fill the house with sounds of people to fill the void that I fell into so long ago. Which is good, I guess. Being perfect isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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