Day Ninety-One: Spending Time (and Iron Fist)

How am I spending time? How am I blowing time?

I recently finished watching Iron Fist on Netflix. Well, kind of second-screening Iron Fist. I knew it would not be good going in. I knew it was not good while watching it. It wasn’t particularly compelling, but I watched it to the end.

I am going to die someday.

Why in God’s name am I watching Iron Fist?

I wish I had a good answer for that question. There’s been a thing rattling around in my head for a decade now, which becomes truer every year. Media consumption used to be defined by access: physical access (is the movie playing here?) and financial access (can I afford a ticket?).

Things have changed.

If you’re in a developed nation, and have a stable Internet connection, your media consumption driver is not access. It’s time management. I used to say there was nothing on TV. Now my wife and I have routine conversations to triage the shows we watch. We divide things up and report back to each other about whether something is good (I’m the canary in that coal mine — she reads a lot, I second-screen a lot).

Spending time when time is your media currency

So it’s hard to feel good about spending time on something you don’t think is worth it. I could have been building something, or climbing a tree, or cleaning my toothbrush collection.

And it’s hard sometimes to distinguish “leisure” from “waste.” I kind of feel okay about video game time. It’s at least engaging and either a way to work on my reflexes and/or puzzle solving skills. But the Netflix thing is just so… inert.

But I need to relax, right? And bad TV is a form of relaxing… right?

It’s hard to know what to feel okay with, and what to feel guilty about, sometimes.