Here I sit, a couple of yards from the TV. Itâ€™s blank, off. There are 3 remote control boxes on the coffee table, mint green, cherry red and lemon yellow buttons like tempting candies lay still just waiting for the soft pressure of my fingertips to do my bidding. It used to be that with one touch I could summon Monk, my favorite detective sterilizing his shoes after a desperate chase through a littered back alley.Â Or a rerun of an old classic movie – Â like Zoolander – I love that movie. I laugh at the gas station scene every time. I could go back and analyze the island symbols on LOST by re-watching this weekâ€™s episode and pause every few minutes to make sure I got all the clues. One touchâ€¦thatâ€™s all it would take. But here I sit on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon just screaming for blanket-covered TV watching and I canâ€™t even do that anymore.
Itâ€™s Tivo that did this to me. Tivo came into my life one Christmas as a gift. A thing I would like, enjoy. Thatâ€™s the promise of every gift, isnâ€™t it? Sure, you take back the red scratchy sweater from your sister-in-law and replace it with a new cozy beige chenille robe, but all in all gifts are meant to please, right? Oh, and it did. Tivo, the temptress, first grabbed the attention of my husband. I became a Tivo widow within 24 hours of opening the box. If the television was on, Tivo was on, her little â€œba-loupâ€ echoing throughout the house as my husband created Wish Lists and Season Passes for his favorite shows, actors and genres. I found that I could pause a show for a few minutes, go out to fix a cup of coffee or pour a glass of wine, and not only return to the exact second where I had left off, but now had the power to fast forward through commercials. Who was this amazing creature and how did I manage to even live before?!
I soon became entranced with Tivoâ€™s charms and spells. She was unbelievable with her skills at intuiting our wants and desires and suggesting upcoming shows and specials that she just knew we would enjoy. She knew better than to record repeats and patiently waited until the next new broadcast of our favorite shows before blinking her green and red eyes to let us know she was on the job. She never deleted negligently, always with a conscientious thought to our viewing needs. What a gal. With our cable subscription, complete with several extra movie channels that my husband had finagled out of customer service during his last complaint call, and a Tivo that sat silently on her shelf until sheer instinct called her into service, our needs were few. Life was good.
Then, a few months ago, it all began to fall apart. Tired of paying almost $90 dollars to watch TV, my husband decided to cancel our addiction to cable broadcasting and we sent our digital cable box away, leaving us with only the usual suspects to tune into. We also lost one of five remote controls. (To be fair, one of them was a useless, old cable remote control, but at the time we were so hopped up on HBO on Demand we didnâ€™t know any better). Now we didnâ€™t have hundreds of shows, specials and movies to watch so our dependence on the television declined. With the newfound strength of kicking a Â nasty habit, I started looking at Tivo in a whole new light. What do we need her around for? I would mutter aloud – within earshot of the now unblinking silver box. The money just gets drained out of my bank account – donâ€™t I have better things to spend almost $14 on each month? I would speculate to my husband – while we were watching Jeopardy! in the evening, knowing she could hear me.
One day I did it. I called up Tivoâ€™s command center on the phone and told them I didnâ€™t need her anymore – they could just make her stop. In fact, I felt like I was freeing her from servitude to a larger, harsher superior. Instead of serving the Great Tivo Conglomerate, she could just work for us, quietly in our own home and do the simple ordinary things, like record our favorite shows and wait, while we got our coffee and dessert, so we could then continue watching when we returned. But there was to be none of that. Once I made that call, Tivo stopped working altogether. The little red light did not blink on at 9pm on Thursday night or ever. I could neither program her or coax her into even glancing at the show I wanted to watch – and record. I thought she would behave as a regular Digital Video Recorder would, but her allegiance was to the Conglomerate. As much as she acted as if she was ours, she was always – and always will be – theirs.
And now Iâ€™m just bereft. Iâ€™ve gotten over my anger at Tivoâ€™s desertion and now I just want her back. Itâ€™s just no fun anymore to watch TV without her. I canâ€™t search my favorite actors, I canâ€™t figure out which movie Iâ€™m watching if I come in at the middle and I canâ€™t even check the freaking schedule anymore. But more importantly, I canâ€™t rest easily at night knowing that even though I might fall asleep early, Tivo will be on the job, looking out for me, keeping episode after episode safe in her vaults for posterity – if by posterity you know that I mean a cold and windy Sunday afternoon when TV watching is practically required. Come back, little Tivoâ€¦come back.