Sometimes I need silence to relax, but more times than not, I decompress by watching television. It could be an old favorite, like a Seinfeld rerun, or a new episode of The Soup. Whatever it is, it takes my mind off of the day and I can just focus on unwinding.
That being said, watching television in a public place like a waiting room is a surefire way for me not to relax. I am always waiting for someone to change the channel when I am in the middle of a program, or for the TV to be on a channel I have no interest in. It seems like the TVs are always tuned in to soap operas or cable news networks. If it’s Fox News, I look for the nearest exit and/or pray for temporary deafness. If it’s CNN, I wait in agony for someone to make a disparaging remark about President Obama (yes, this has happened to me multiple times).
For some reason, when it comes to politics, certain people just cannot keep their mouth shut. I take politics seriously, but it is personal. I am able to discuss things respectfully with the few friends I have who are conservative, but I don’t go out of my way to pick fights with people I don’t know who disagree with me. I do not need some man sitting in the uncomfortable seat next to me to pipe up about Obama’s Socialist agenda and the fact that pretty soon we’re all going to be rounded up and put into work camps (again, I am speaking from a sad, real life experience). Silence is golden.
I’m typing this while waiting for my doctor to come into my exam room, after spending more than 30 minutes in the waiting room. That used to be a TV-free space, but now there is a giant flatscreen hanging up on the wall, most likely because my doctor is notorious for running hours (and hours) late. Let me put it this way: my appointment was scheduled for 11 a.m. It is now fast approaching 2 p.m.
I think he put the TV out there as a kind gesture, because he is a very kind man. His compassion is the reason why he runs hours behind; he wants to make sure he covers everything. But that TV just adds to my stress and aggravation. I already hate waiting, but a good book or magazine will take the edge off. If you provide magazines, or a coloring area for kids who can’t read yet, that should be enough, and a TV won’t be necessary. The entire waiting room shouldn’t be subjected to a show that we didn’t all agree on, and we especially shouldn’t have to listen to the whining and moaning of someone who doesn’t agree with whatever is on the TV.
Yes, it can be boring sitting around and waiting. I have found myself arriving places early without a book or anything else to keep me occupied, and time seems to come to a standstill. But, I would rather sit there with just my thoughts than have to listen to a blaring television, especially one featuring some lame talking head. Am I alone in this? Do you appreciate having a television in a public area, even if you have no control over the program?