My name is Lauren Bravo, and I can’t stop consuming content. I am a televisual binger. An entertainment junkie.
As I type this, Netflix is open in another tab playing a Modern Family episode I’ve seen before (and am not paying attention to anyway) and the radio is on.
Before finishing this paragraph, I will become distracted by an interestinglooking link that has popped up on Tweetdeck and follow a trail through at least five more interesting-looking links to a point where I’ve forgotten what lead me there in the first place, stopped, scratched my head and had a biscuit.
Not only are my habits bad for productivity, it also means that boredom is only ever a power cut away.
A dead Kindle battery will leave me determinedly padding out my commute with any other words I can find – the small print on bad Tube adverts, receipts, other people’s texts over their shoulders – and when others hear, “secluded holiday retreat”, I hear “WHERE ART THOU, WIRELESS?”.
But what am I scared of? There are practical implications – silence means I’m more likely to hear the mouse that may or may not live in my wardrobe – but the truth is that I just don’t want to miss any good telly.
To my mind, it makes sense. Life is short, and there is a daunting volume of brilliant TV, film, music and writing out there – why not try to cram a little of it in during the 10 minutes it takes to eat my morning porridge?
That’s not to say I’m only consuming the brilliant stuff.
Oh, no. Like a gourmet who starts the evening with duck confit and ends it shovelling stale Shreddies into her face with one hand and the kitchen light off, I often choose quantity over quality.
So how can I defend guiltily chain-watching episodes of Community when I could be learning Russian, or crocheting my own outfits?
The truth is that today’s cultural climate is an enabler, serving up entertainment not in modest weekly slices, but great big tasty slabs to be wolfed down all at once – boxsets, online catch-up, streaming subscriptions full of more telly and film than one person could hope to watch without giving up their job, and sleep, forever.
Video game addiction has been studied at length, while the term “computer addiction” was first used as early as the 1970s – but, it seems to me, in the past decade or less, since modern entertainment learned to bend and flex its way into every nook and cranny of our day, a new form of low-level addiction is emerging.
It’s not so much about the behavioural compulsion, but the fear of missing out on the new and the talked about.
It’s the watercooler conversation pressure of yore, supersized.
I’d spend more time pondering the subject, but it’s getting late and I have four series of Parks and Recreation waiting – so, you’ll have to excuse me...