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.