Senseless Thought

by Kathleen Lange

Kathleen Lange

Kathleen Lange
Chicago, Illinois, United States
March 11
I'm not a writer in the "paid" sense... not anymore. I used to write screenplays of my own, and doctor up those of other writers for pay (for which I will always feel guilt). I've started writing again (after writing nothing more than psychology and education term papers in the past ten years) to get back in the habit. I'm not sure where it will take me, but it's nice to be back in the saddle again. I'm finishing up a masters degree in Education, and work during the day as a nanny (BEST job in the entire world). Life is pretty darn good. My Review Blogs: (See links below)


Kathleen Lange's Links

MAY 30, 2010 11:26PM

Me: Unplugged (Two Days in...)

Rate: 5 Flag

Two days.  Without television.  I honestly didn't know if I could do it.  I thought I would be digging the digital receiver back out of the closet and hooking it up again just to catch a few more episodes of... something.  But I haven't.  And surprise of surprises - I haven't even wanted to.

When I think of how I used to spend my weekends, I'm mortified.  I literally could spend both Saturday and Sunday inside my apartment, on my couch, without leaving to do anything.  In fact, that's how I did spend most of my weekends - glued to the television, telling myself that this was my break - my "me time."  (What an annoying phrase.)  But really, it was my dead time, when time was irrelevant because I didn't even know if the sun was out.  I spent so much time sitting on a couch, watching other people live their lives and soaking in other people's writing, that my own life kind of whizzed by.  Whoosh.  

But then, I turned the T.V. off.  And suddenly, I realized what weekends are really for: errands. 

I was out of my apartment and into the stunning sunlight by noon yesterday to catch the afternoon showing of "Sex and the City 2."  After the movie, I went over to Target and picked up a window air conditioner unit for my bedroom (so I can stop sleeping in my living room which feels basically like a meat locker - just the way I like it).  Next, I headed over to Home Depot and picked up some planters, soil, gloves, a spade, some herbs and a big, flowering plant - all to dress up the sad little porch facing an alley at the back of my apartment.  I came home, potted the plants, set them up on my porch, watered them all liberally, and then came in to write a review of the movie (which was dreadful - please see review.) 

Today I woke up and the first thing I did was to go down to my car, pull out my little hand dolly and load up the air conditioner.  Now, this was a big feat for me.  I've always said that I don't need a husband, I need a butler and a carpenter- because I HATE carrying heavy things, and I really hate trying to install things or put them together.  But hey, here I am, living alone in the city, and it was time to get over my whining and see what I could accomplish.  

Please keep in mind that my grasp of physics and leverage is not strong.  So I wasn't really sure which way to load the air conditioner box onto the dolly, but I eventually went with face-up.  I then found a sad, lonely little bungee cord and wrapped it around this VERY heavy appliance - one time.  That's all I could do.  I didn't have those giant straps with heavy buckles that moving guys have.  I had to trust in the indomitable spirit of that little bungee cord to keep both me and my air conditioner safe on the trip to my apartment.

It was heavy, but not all that difficult to pull the dolly to the front door of my apartment building.  The real trick, however, was going to be getting it up the stairs.  Just me and the bungee cord.  I climbed the first step and pulled up hard on the dolly.  It stuck under the lip of the bottom step until I pulled it even harder and it jutted out to come up.  It was at this point I realized that the dolly would be violently lurching forward on every step as I yanked it up.  I started praying earnestly that my eentsy-weentsy bungee cord would keep the air conditioner from falling off the dolly and come crashing down the steps, perhaps maiming and killing onlookers.  I pulled ("Please, God,")... pulled ("Help me,")... pulled ("I know I don't really go to church anymore, but,")... and within a few minutes, we had done it - me and that bungee cord - both a little worse for wear, but at my front door.

I brought the box into my apartment and just stared at it for a while.   I really didn't want to do this.  It would be heavy, there would be tools and screws involved... and there's that little matter of not wanting to kill someone walking underneath the window with a falling air conditioner.  But I had committed to this, and there was no one else there, so I had to buck up.  I found my tool bag, assembled the air conditioner with its stability bar at the top and folding screens on the side, and gingerly put it in my window (more praying).  Et voila!  It worked.  I did some serious sealing up of all the air gaps and turned it on, only to feel a cool breeze hit my face and hear that beautiful loud hummmm.  Joy.

Now those of you who haven't spent much time with me (or any time at all, really) may not be very impressed by this story.  But my closest friends, my family, those people who have witnessed the lengths I would go to in order to avoid such physical labor - they will all be flabbergasted upon reading this.  This is new.  This is a change.  This is what no television can do for me.

After I installed the air conditioner, I dashed out of the house again.  I went clothes shopping first (very important - I caught a big sale), and then went back to Target to look at lawn furniture.  I figure that all I need now is a cozy chair with an ottoman and a little table to complete my back porch Nirvana.  But since the only chairs I like only come in entire patio sets (no regard for us apartment dwellers), I left with just a little table for the herb boxes (as well as a bike chain to lock it to the railing - I'm no fool) and a new watering can.  I then headed to a store I had never really shopped at before because I wasn't a "member" - Costco.  I wandered through the vast consumer orgy that is that place and left with ten things I didn't need and a new patio chair which, (I found out in the parking lot) was too big for my little car - so I had to turn around and return it.  

Now I'm home, everything is unpacked and put away, and I'm taking some time to write this blog because it's important to me that I do that each day if I can.  I feel different - I do.  I feel as if I've woken up from a deep sleep.  Instead of seeing the world through a fog, things are crisper and clearer - it's actually nice to feel the sun on my arms and the back of my neck.  Some people may read this and think I'm exaggerating - but I'm not.  Two days without the yoke of that television, and I have already started to change.  I worked.  I spent time outside.  I followed through on my plans.  I even ate better.  I feel like I have turned a switch, and can't wait to see what wonderful things may come of it.  

Still unplugged... and so happy to be. 

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Wow, I didn't know the past few days have been so...transformational! In Australia we don't have televison (we just pretend we do) Everyday is an episode of... Lost.

Still, I'm proud of you. I really am. You've sort of come out of your shell. That's Hot.

Around the house:
You shouldn't have to worry your pretty head with home maintainance. Trash removal. And home defense tactical response.

You need a husband yesterday. But first you need a Man. Aircon? What a whimp!I won't tell you how hot it gets here . And we still wear jumpers whilst playing rugby.

Admittedly, I'm 500 metres to the nearest Dolphin.

Now go to sleep.It's 11:26pm and you shouldn't be hunched over your blog. Your health dear. Your health!
Great job and a grand two days.
Someone has to say it.

You replaced television with shopping.

Take a walk along the lake. This is the time of year when Chicago has magical days.
Funny. I went through the exact thing two days ago when I HAD to buy an air conditioner. I said the same thing about not needing a man to do the deed, except I ended up getting a freestanding unit you vent with a hose out a window. I knew I wouldn't be able to get it up the stairs. Luck for me, my BBF is too clever and she took it out the box, wrapped it in a blanket and we toted it hammock style up the stairs. Ten seconds tops. What every woman needs is not a man, but a smart wingwoman. Thanks for reminding me!
John George: I'm glad you think I shouldn't have to worry about such things, but if I didn't (particularly the trash), you would hear about me on the news after I was buried alive under moldy bread and yogurt containers. And perhaps I am a wimp about the heat... (actually, there is no perhaps. I admit it freely. I like to live around 70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.) Please say hello to the dolphins for me (but be careful... they're killers, you know.)

Scylla: Thank you!

Nick: I was waiting for someone to recognize that fact. (It was quickly apparent to me - no television is expensive!) But now that I have some beauty around the house (and a reasonable sleeping temperature) I will definitely take advantage of Chicago's free view of heaven. Thanks for the suggestion.
readwillet: Glad to know I'm not the only one. And I totally agree with you about needing a wingwoman, but my friends who I would actually consider asking that kind of help of (I save that kind of favor for those who have known me most of my life) all live in another state. Perhaps I should work harder on cultivating my friendships here. (Wow, it's an epiphany a moment around here.) Thanks for the comment. Also, I really love your postings (especially the one about friending your mom). I need to make more time to write comments. (Hey... another thing I can now do without television!)
I've only been in Baltimore six months. The second week I met Alexia, along with a ton of other great artsy types. Lucky for me, she's so gregarious, and knows everyone, meeting folks is pretty easy. If you're off TV, then you'll have no choice but to be out there, meeting & greeting. So much better than Law & Order reruns!
Don't forget to keep watering those plants.
readwillett: You're right... I don't even miss the Law and Order reruns one bit. And I know that once I get out there a bit more, it will be easy to team up with other humans. I used to be pretty darn good at that, actually.

Jeff: I am a caregiver by design, so believe me - those plants will be watered and well-tended. No worries.
As the person who carried and installed your living room AC on one of our wonderful trips to stay with you in Chicago, I cannot begin to convey how proud I am of you Kath that you got your room AC up the stairs and into your bedroom window all by yourself along with the rest of your new Unplugged life. Now that I have wonderfully read about your being out and about the city, next time we visit Chicago we will definitely go to the Art Institute because you know it's at the top of my to-do list everytime we come see you.
Steve: As the person who watched you carry up that even bigger and much heavier air conditioner and install it for me... THANK YOU AGAIN! Can't wait for you guys to come back to Chicago. (And tell your daughter she can come stay with me any time.)
Hey Kathleen,

We have Great White Sharks. But we just don't care. In any case, our friends the the Dolphins would swim to our rescue.

I've never watched Law and Order. Could you sum up the last 10 years please?

Is it like the British series, The Bill? How good was The Shield!
We don't have cable. We have meaningful lives instead.Like adding comments.

Wow, what are you going to see next at the movies? Make sure you go and see 'Tommorrow When the War Began' it's being filmed in my area, Port Stephens. It's a Post-Apocalyptic Australian Big Budget - with no Mel Gibson or 'my mate' Sam Worthington to speak of.

They wanted extras.I wanted the lead. There was creative differences.I don't like doing my own stunts.

Incidently, when my dad was at NIDA, he was offered 100 Bucks -Aussie to be blown up in a box. He became a Prep. Head Master instead. Smart. We don't do stunts.
John George: I find your comments tacked on to old postings like Easter Eggs... they are fun to hunt for. (But it means I may get back to you late.)

There was a lot of "Aussie-speak" in there that I didn't quite comprehend. But as for post-Apocalyptic movies, "Mad Max" scared me for years. I still get really queasy when I see those movies, and also any Australian people-killing or people-eating movies. They REALLY creep me out. That one about WooWoo or something? YIKES. (And it was supposed to be a comedy.) After seeing Wolf Creek I declared that I will never ever step foot on the continent of Australia, so you have those filmmakers to blame for your heartache.