HOW CABLE INVADED MY LIFE
There had been a prelude foreshadowing the main event: his Birther movement, the Apprentice, the massive ego, the arrogance. He had primed me even before the primaries began. He was Tom Brady in a suit and cable TV was his football field. I couldn't stand looking at him but he put on such a game I had to watch.
It didn't even start out slow. It was right from the beginning I stopped watching the normal primetime fare on the other networks. It was Morning Joe with Joe and Mika and the cast of pundits at six in the morning when I was in New York but 5am when I was back in Madison. I'd set my alarm to make sure I didn't miss a single tweet or name-calling. Then Stephanie Ruhle, and Andrea Mitchell carried me through the afternoon until Chuck Todd took over followed by Greta Van Susteren who held sway until the nightly line-up of Chris Matthews, Chris Hayes, my beloved Rachel Maddow and the soft-spoken Laurence O'Donnell and my weekends with Joy Reid. Then they had to add Brian Williams as a nightcap after which they do a repeat of the whole nightly line-up in case you missed something or like me had to watch it twice.
I go to sleep with the TV still on letting the voices of cable drift in and out of my dream life. Until Way Too Early comes on before the sun rises. This addiction is sick. I know it's bad for my health but like the lovers in Brokeback Mountain, "I just wish I could quit them."
But there's always a new tweet, an absurd new reversal of policy or another cabinet post being debated and voted on for someone so completely unqualified for the position. What do you do? Turn it off? I've tried but five minutes of "The Voice" and I'm back. What did I miss, and more often than not there's a new leak or development coming out of the White House or Mar-A-Logo pulling at my indignation and cementing me into my seat in front of the TV.
I pull out my Stairmaster at six-fifty-five in the morning in time to catch the opening, "Your World in Sixty Seconds" on CBS but then it's right back to MSNBC. Every once in a while I'll turn to CNN but my loyalty to my commentators is strong and hard to untether.
I keep thinking something will come along to break this cycle. The election is over. Hillary lost, well we all lost, so shouldn't the drama be over too? It only deepens.
The weekends are the worst. There are gaps in the coverage that ache with the pain of a missed lover. I channel surf with my fingers on the remote punching and punching looking for news, there must be something.
Clearly I need help but for the moment I don't see any way out.
Wait - they just released the data on Trumpcare and it's not great news for the Donald. I have to take my fingers off this computer keyboard and let them do their duty on the remote. I'll keep you posted on his up-coming tweet.
Nate Gowdy, photographer
From Time Magazine