Member Musings: Iris Shur

Member Musings features the reflections and thoughts of an NPC member.


I’ve Become A Streaming Addict

Iris Shur

Netflix, Amazon Prime and even HBO Go are some of the internet networks that stream TV shows and movies to your computer. They have imprisoned me for the past year.

When I view shows on my iPad, I can watch whatever I want, whenever I want, commercial free. Watching “Downton Abbey” seamlessly is a pleasure. Did I mention that cliffhangers hang only for the ten seconds it takes to get to the next episode?

The term “binge watching” may have existed in our vernacular before, but it became popular recently with the advent of computer networks like Netflix.

My life, lately, consists of showering, dressing, breakfast, one episode of “Velvet”—a steamy department store romance in Spanish—followed by one half hour of depressing paperwork. Then I reward myself with another hour of “Velvet.”

Mind you, I don’t speak Spanish. The funny thing about watching these shows in various languages with subtitles is that after ten episodes I really think I know how to speak the language.

No sooner do I exhaust one series, than I am on the hunt for another. These companies furiously produce their own shows as well as streaming regular network TV shows and movies, so there is no dearth of material available.

Talk amongst my friends lately consists of recommendations for various computer shows. “Have you seen ‘Orange is the New Black’? How about ‘House of Cards,’ or the latest episode of ‘Veep’?” Then, when we find a commonality, we also discuss the characters and our love of or dislike for a particular show.

These streamed shows on my computer replace an abysmal habit I had for many years.  When I smoked I would take a cigarette break in between various tasks. Now I watch a show, pay bills, watch another show, respond to emails, watch another, work on a volunteer project. By the end of the day, I am ashamed to admit, I have put in maybe two hours of work and four hours of “Breaking Bad.”

Watching these shows has, in a way, made a techie out of me. I bought a gizmo that, after some fancy programming, allows me to watch streamed shows on the TV. The fact I figured out how to do it highlights my intense need to make these shows as accessible as possible.

From time to time, I get upset with myself for wasting my life on others’ fictional lives. There is so much I could be doing, like cleaning out all the boxes of memorabilia sitting in my garage, or writing, or doing more charitable work. But here I sit, immersed in comedies and dramas. I feel there is no escape.

My exceptional other has shown no interest in many of the internet shows I watch. It is difficult for me to spend an evening with him playing gin rummy when I am aching to see the latest episode of whatever I am currently watching.

There is another phenomenon about this whole activity that some of you may share with me. We should probably coin a word for it. Occasionally there comes a time when I have exhausted all possible shows to watch that would interest me. No matter how hard I search—checking out and watching a few minutes of this one and that one—nothing hooks me. But then, euphoria! when I find the right one or a series I love has a new season available or there is a new show I can’t wait to see. There is no special word for that sigh of relief.

Am I alone in my streaming addiction? Will I need therapy someday? Can I keep it under control?

Meanwhile, if you have watched some good shows, let me know. 

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