December 10, 2012
There comes a time in every gay man's life when he discovers that he's a bitch. This realization, for me, did not come as a surprise, nor did it bother me particularly. I've always considered myself a very friendly person, and most of my friends will tell me the same. There's more to being a bitch, however, than being unfriendly. It's a deeper state of being. Come to think of it, people have been telling me for years that I'm a bitch. I suppose I had to come to this in my own time.
After living by myself for 2 years I've decided that I like living by myself. I suppose if I were to cohabit again, I could make it work as long as I had, as Virginia Woolf suggested, a room of my own. I've gotten used to my space and my own ambiance. I've grown accustomed to my own pattern of life. And now I've grown old and I'm afraid that I'm stuck in my ways.
I hate television. I abhor television. This is something that started before I moved out of my parents' home. The habit of my family, as with 99% of the people I know, is to have the television on. They wake up and turn the television on. They come home and turn the television on. They used to come into the living room – this was before having televisions in every room in the house, including the bathrooms, was a reality for most families – as I was saying they'd come into the living room, turn the television on and promptly leave the room. It just had to be on.
I think my negative feelings began when I was trying to learn to play the piano and one was only allowed to practice if the television was not on. Having the television on at all times was at odds with what I was trying to accomplish. That was the first time I considered how odd it was to turn it on and leave the room. It's the first time I really noticed. And trying to struggle against that was futile. My family accepted my and my brother's being gay much more easily than they ever accepted the fact that I wanted to turn the television off.
Fast forward to years later when I was trying to date somebody and he, also, has every television he owns turned on at all times, whether he's home or not. I learned something else about myself: television sucks my brain out. He would be talking to me and I would be staring at the television completely absorbed in a sitcom that I find revolting. Commercials, documentaries, sitcoms, movies... it doesn't matter. Something about the television captures my attention and doesn't allow me any bandwidth for personal conversations. He has actually demonstrated this phenomenon to his friends, saying something to me in front of a television as I stare unblinking at the moving colors and sounds of a commercial for prescription medication aimed at helping people who have restless legs and not enough sense to take 2 Advil.
So, now I live alone in an almost televisionless environment. I own a television for the first time in my life and every few months I'll turn it on. Mostly I have it to watch movies. Anyway, I was out of town this past weekend and sharing a hotel room with nameless. I woke up first and took a shower. I could hear the television as I was rinsing off. When I got out he went to take a shower and left me alone with that electronic brain-sucker. The show he had landed on was one in which F.B.I. agents feel that they can describe to local authorities the personality of a person who is committing heinous crimes so that the local authorities – with the help of said F.B.I. agents – can apprehend the perpetrator. Rather than turning the television off while I had the opportunity I sat on the bed in front of it watching the graphic detail of the show's portrayal of victims being tied up and held in a dark, damp place awaiting their inevitable fate, which they've already witness with the previous unfortunate persons – a fate involving humiliation, sexual obsession and slow and painful death. Frankly, I think the people who write and produce shows like this are far more disturbed mentally than any criminal that has ever been prosecuted and the fact that people watch them speaks volumes about our society as a whole and not in a good way. Plus, the television's volume WAS SET TO VERY LOUD SO THAT ALL OF THE INCREDULOUSLY HORRIFIED SCREAMING AND DESPERATE CRIES FOR HELP WERE REVERBERATING OFF THE WALLS.
All of this before my first cup of coffee.
So, when we got to the place we were going and nameless went to the other room to be a part of a church service put on by artists and which was – from what I gather from the people who attended – a very touching and motivational talk, I stayed behind and listened to my Christmas music playing softly as I nursed my first cup of coffee in the quiet bliss of a large hall devoid of other people.
My point, and I do have one, is that it would seem that I am the one who is not like the others. It's eArnie Painter who is different and unusual for not enjoying having a television blasting first thing in the morning, much less on a program of such graphic and horrible subject matter. And, I wasn't particularly friendly for a while. I have come to accept that I'm set in my ways, I don't want to change them and that this probably means that I'm a bitch and I'm really okay with that.
Now I'm alone, enjoying a cup of coffee in Corporate Coffee Shop and It's rather peaceful watching people do what they do.
I'll write more later.