Waiting Room Blues

seniors-tv watchWhen did the medical community decide it was imperative to our health that daytime TV was required to dominate every doctor’s and hospital’s waiting room? As we of the Repair and Maintenance Age (RMA) so often do, I recently found myself stuck for more than an hour while waiting for a relative who was having a “procedure.”

I’d brought work to do and a novel to read in case I felt lazy. As someone who writes at home, part of my attempts at discipline mean never turning on the TV before 6:00 pm. So I have little exposure to the daytime “celebrities” who float across the waiting room screens.

All but one of the eight people waiting with me for other patients  were either reading e-books, print books, or were on their smartphones. As I often do in such situations, I asked that the volume on the TV be turned down so I could read (once I even got it turned off when I was the only person waiting) which was hard to do over the bubbly excitement of Rachel Ray and a guest discussing the best kind of jeans for women with big hips and thighs.

This part of an ongoing assault on women’s self-esteem went on for half an hour. The dumbing down of American culture is relentless, as screens of all sizes control our lives, even when we stop for gas. We’re like mental lemmings, rushing unconsciously toward blind consumerism. God forbid we should be comfortable with silence, with solitude, or with our own thoughts.

Isn’t it bad enough that as we progress through the Repair and Maintenance Age we have to cope with the vicissitudes of aging? Why, when we spend so much time at doctors’ offices must we be subjected to the odious mainstream daytime burger-fr friesmedia when we have so much to contemplate and ponder?

Like why, in a nation struggling with obesity, do they serve chips or fries with every sandwich in America?

Who decides these things?

Be in Beauty,

Judith Trustone

A version of this article was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer May 13, 2013. Judith Trustone, award-winning Swarthmore based author/filmmaker directs Sagewriters and the Global Kindness Revolution. She can be reached at 610-328-6101, www.TrustOneKindness.com, Judith@Sagewriters.org.

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