Matthew Harris (glowing_fish) wrote,
Matthew Harris

As requested: television

My prime television years were about 9 to 12 years old, I think, which corresponds to the years 1988 and 1991. I watched television before that, and after that, but those years were when I was a television watcher.

When I was a child, we often didn't have a television, and when we did, it was second hand and didn't last for long. I don't remember the exact years. I remember stretches of no television. I would watch TV at friends or relatives houses, but I remember also being somewhat left out when my friends talked about TV.

When we moved from Battle Ground to near Salem was when I remember watching a lot of TV. In those days, before cable, the distance (about 60 miles) from Portland meant that we had a weak signal, and of the five or six stations available, usually half of them showed up. The late 80s and early 90s were the last tie when Domestic Situation comedies were the basis of prime time TV. I don't remember watching a lot of them. For some reason, either because of reception or because of some sense of my proper domain, I mostly watched syndicated TV, which was carried on two channels, and the new programming I did watch was more the non-family comedies. I really liked Night Court, for example.

In those days, to know what was on television we used tv guides, either the name brand TV Guide that you bought, or the free ones that you could get in the checkout aisles. TV Guide was 75 cents, and the free ones were free. They also had TV listings in the newspapers. Between these three sources, I could navigate a course for television. Like many of my other hobbies, I could get obsessive: I remember at times looking at the schedule and planning like six hours straight of television viewing. Many of my leisure activities become overly scheduled and goal-driven.

Looking back at it, the times of maximum television watching seemed long, but they might have only been something I did for a month or so, before another hobby intruded. Looking back at it, television probably had a lot to do with stress and isolation, neither of which occurred in Battle Ground. Those years were when I first experienced my cocooning instinct.

I could probably have more to say about television, but that is it for now.
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