Admittedly, I looked on television to see why one building in the World Trade Center was on fire.
And I watched "Almost Live" reruns, and the election returns on television. I have a television set, and I even watched it this week screening some "Ben Stiller Show" DVD. I have used the television set for screening DVDs and VHS cassettes.
Yet seeing a television perched above the bar of my fave coffeehouse brought me down. It was as if the staff said: "Get out. You're not welcome here anymore." There's already a large-screen television set, with DVD and VCR in the back. I object to the television being front and center, rather than hidden somewhere for the television watcher to find. The coffeehouse has many assets: it supports local arts, some baristas serve great coffee, all but one of them have terrific personalities, and there are seating areas for small meetings upstairs and downstairs. It is unique among coffeehouses in my city in that I was an instant regular. I could talk motorcycles, scooters, music, or politics with the barista or with someone sharing the counter. I've given them $500 over the past year, twice my year's electricity bill.
I don't want to feel disconnected, yet for the past week I have, and it's erupted into a soft pang of betrayal and mourning for something I thought existed but really didn't: a community outside my home where I could have a breve, a Merlot, or a Pterodactyl and banter, or better yet listen to people who could make my head work a whole new way. I thought there'd be enough patrons to keep my coffeehouse going well enough to not introduce a television. Now I wonder if the coffeehouse'll still be in business when my birthday comes around. It feels like a sob in my solar plexus.
My question isn't so much about the cafe: it's about me. Why am I irritated by this development? I wasn't bothered when my family had a television in everybody's bedroom throughout the 1980s. My in-laws have three household members and four televisions, and I wasn't bothered the last few times I visited them.