Netflix is terrible because, well, it’s too great. It keeps me distracted from things that (probably) matter. It reminds me of shows I had long-forgotten, and then entices me to watch those shows all the way through, in one day, twice. This isn’t good for the growing pile of dishes in the sink. Or the scary heap of laundry in the hallway. Or the list of assignments I haven’t done yet.
Now that Netflix is in my life, I’m having trouble imagining what life was like before it. When I moved out of my mom’s house and in with Michael, we were pretty well below the poverty line. Like, buried under it. We couldn’t afford some basic necessities, like food other than Bisquick biscuits, and cable was definitely an unnecessary expense that we couldn’t justify. It was hard to get used to it at first because I was accustomed to coming home, plopping down on the couch, and watching hours of brain-numbing television.
So what did we do all day in lieu of the tube? We talked, hiked, swam, had parties, made biscuits (no, that’s not code for anything, but it should be), and did laundry. We were healthy, or as healthy as one can be while living off biscuits alone.
We were really in sync with each other because we had nothing better to do than — gasp — communicate in person. We had awesome bods because of all the physical activity we were “forced” to take part in instead of watching TV. The only television set we had was in our bedroom, where we used it sporadically to watch our small collection of really bad action movies. Ah, young love.
And then, one day, we realized we weren’t poor anymore. We had enough money to pay our bills and a little left over. I don’t remember if it was Michael or me that first timidly suggested we check out the cost of cable — you know, just to “see.” We did that and were sorely disappointed. We weren’t as rich as we thought. But we could afford Netflix, which seemed pretty close. That was two years ago, and we haven’t looked back.
I’m not saying we’re unhealthy, out of sync with each other, and fat now, but we definitely aren’t as cool as we were back in the TV-free days.
Now that I’ve dredged up all these painfully positive memories, I’m going to go drown my sorrow in a couple episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and maybe make a batch of biscuits for old times’ sake.
(Editor’s Note: Debra Carpenter is a novice mother, wife and college student. She also is a syndicated columnist whose work is published in several Tennessee newspapers. She writes about the parts of parenthood you didn’t expect when you were expecting in her weekly column and Huffington Post blog. Follow her on Twitter@interrupted_ma.)