Television today is inflicted upon us, whether we want it or not.
It seems you can't escape television these days. Go to a restaurant or bar, and they have six, seven, eight or a dozen sets, all over the place, on different channels, with the sound off. Who watches Fox News with the sound off? Apparently a lot of people.
They put televisions in airports, on airplanes, and even in elevators. They have televisions in the gas pumps advertising crap. You can't get away from it!
And increasingly, people are watching television at work. I kid you not. Bank of America has two in the lobby, thankfully with the sound off. My local bank, Ameris, has one teetering on a hall table, with the sound on. The bank manager sits there for hours, mesmerized by "Court TeeVee".
What is up with all this television, and why does everyone assume we all want to watch it? That it is some sort of special "treat" that we don't get enough of?
And like secondhand smoke, television in public spaces is annoying as hell. You can't not look at it. It is like a small child with a trumpet. Look at me! Look at me! It says over and over again, with rotating, spinning logos, weird morphing background backdrops, and scrolling text along the bottom and NEWS ALERT in orange letters.
And even if you can ignore it, chances are, your dining companions are looking at it. What was that you said? There was something on TeeVee, sorry.
And sometimes, it is just wildly inappropriate. At one restaurant, they left the TeeVee on a station playing one of those new "real-life" cop shows, and they showed, in gory detail, a medical examiner doing an autopsy on a decomposing corpse.
Maybe it is just me, but a cranial saw is not the accompaniment I want with my meal. Probably just me.
If I want to stay home and watch television, I'd do that. But I don't. Going out to watch it is just annoying, particularly six of them with the sound off.
I can see, at a sports bar, with the "big game" on, people want to watch. But what is the point of watching Court TV or Fox News with the sound off during lunch? I just don't get it.
And increasingly, I find that I avoid restaurants with televisions, just as I avoid restaurants that are really loud (the concrete boxes with no sound absorbing materials that just deafen you with the noise from other patrons).
And perhaps I am in the minority on this. But that's OK - I would rather have a nice quiet meal somewhere without flickering TeeVee screens.