On Addictions

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was having friendly banter with djmatticus on his January 5, 2013 post about his harrowing ordeal with the now infamous NyQuil and the resultant monster-chasing nightmares. I concluded he’s no junkie but he countered that this may not necessarily be true. And so, a post is born!

When we think of addictions, the first images conjured in most minds are usually substance-type abuses. The dictionary definition of the term is:

1 : the quality or state of devotion or surrender to something habitually or obsessively as in addiction to gambling or reading

2 : persistent compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal, known by the user to be harmful.

Origin: Latin addictus, past participle of addicere to favor, from ad- + dicere to say First use: 1534

Related: doper, dopehead, fiend, hophead, hype, junkie, stoner

English: Apple iPad Event

I consider myself someone who has both her feet firmly on the ground with most aspects of my life. I have even prided myself in my lack of attachments to any particular food or drink, least of all, any substances with deleterious health consequences. There was always a problem when I was growing up and the nuns would encourage us to give up something we liked very much, for Lent. My friends would give up chocolate or soda, the cinema, or pop music. I didn’t have obsessive attachments to any such indulgences, meaning, giving them up would not really constitute a sacrifice that would cleanse my soul or lead me to a deeper meaning of the Lenten celebration. I used to resort to giving up reading the latest bestseller or attending my rigorous dance classes. I suppose, if they could be considered indulgences, then I fulfilled the nuns’ prescriptions.

Nowadays, I notice that there are some things that I find I am quite attached to, to the extent that when they are absent for a protracted period (defined as more than a day!), for whatever reason, I feel unsettled, as if my day is out of whack or somehow incomplete. Loved ones aside (I make no excuses for my devotion to them.), I plead guilty to being addicted to four things: listening to NPR (and all of its public broadcasting affiliates), watching Downton Abbey, using my smart devices (iPhone and iPad), eating fresh greens.

English: National Public Radio headquarters at...

I have already written about eating fresh greens in a previous post. I have to say that visiting places where fresh salad greens are not a daily staple has been challenging when we travel. I take comfort in the temporariness of the situation. There are places in the world where it was not possible to have an abundance of fresh vegetables and year round too. Thank goodness for the globalization of many cuisines. Case in point was when we were in Prague a few years ago. After sampling local fare for a few meals, we were able to dine at cafes where salads and lighter fare were available.

I listen to NPR while getting ready in the morning, having my morning coffee, and driving to and from work.  My office is almost an hour away from home, so I like the company.  When I’m in the kitchen by myself, I prepare meals while enjoying KQED programs. Public radio has been my companion for a major part of my day.  They give great journalism and they do their best to be unbiased. I saw this during the recent US presidential race. They gave all sides equal time. There were times when I even thought they were giving the Reps more air time than the Dems. And I love their human interest stories and clever participatory shows.  When I travel, I try to catch a program whenever I can. Otherwise, if a topic is interesting, I download the podcast and save it for later.  I have even learned to appreciate “A Prairie Home Companion” and the gang from Lake Wobegon. I can still can only listen to banjo or fiddle type music for short periods. I admit I can’t relate. But I do try.

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

When I first open my eyes in the morning, I automatically reach for my iPad on my bedside table to shut off the alarm.  Then I proceed to look at the news on the NYTimes, HuffPost, SFChronicle. I read my email. I go to my Reader on WordPress. Finally, I get up and get ready for the day.

I read my books, watch movies every now and then, do FaceTime with friends and family far away, iMessage, listen to my music, look up the weather, check-in for my flight, pay bills, make dinner reservations, edit photos, browse for gift ideas, research an idea, a recipe, whatever—all on my iPad.  I do the same with my iPhone with the addition of being able to make calls.  How did we live without them?

And then, there’s Downton Abbey.  At first, I was a doubter. My daughter pointed out that if I liked Gosford Park, whose screenplay was written by none other than Julian Fellowes, then I’d probably enjoy Downton Abbey.  I was still reluctant.  Seasons passed by.  One day early last year, when KQED was having one of their fundraising campaigns, I heard they were offering DVDs of Seasons 1 and 2.  So, I called in, and being a continuing member, I requested for a copy. A few weeks later, I became a proud owner of them!

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was hooked after the first few episodes!  The characters all come alive through the various episodes.  I like the fact that there are no definite protagonists nor villains.  Even the most despicable of characters like Thomas and O’Brien are shown as human, with their failings but also, with their own internal struggles. I find myself rooting for Lady Mary while at the same time appalled by her surface callousness and immaturity early on.  But her character evolves and becomes humbled, gracious, and matures as the story unfolds.  I am thrilled to watch Maggie Smith portray the acerbic force-to-be-reckoned-with Dowager.  She is a wonderful actress.  The ensemble is excellent. So well cast.

I look forward to the third season.  The first world war is over but Britain is changing.  The war seemed to catalyze many upheavals.  I love the historical backdrop used by Mr. Fellowes and the attention to detail of the historical consultants. Down to the lapels and cuffs on the footmen!

I did start to follow Mad Men at one time. I liked the platform used by its creator and team of writers. Certainly, the historical backdrop was one filled with upheavals and monumental events.  But the hiatus that stemmed from a dispute with the network and the principals was just too long!  I lost interest. Yes, even if Don Draper is such eye-candy.

So there!  I confess to my attachments.  Do you have your own addictions? Obsessions?  Compulsions?  Share! Don’t be shy!

This entry was posted in Addictions, Downton Abbey, iPad, iPhone, KQED, NPR, Public Broadcasting, Salads, Smart Devices and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to On Addictions

  1. auntyuta says:

    Director Robert Altman and writer Garrison Keillor created a movie which is a fictional counterpart to the real life “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show. I have this movie on DVD . Want to watch it again and again. It’s so good!


  2. You read my thoughts but said it way better. Nowadays, I am trying to detach myself from my iPhone, even the computer if I can. Sometimes our passions becomes an obscession. As for gadgets, all we need to do is go to a public place and observe what people are doing. Have you notice that almost everyone is glued to the phones? We are so addicted now to modern technology from phones, to ipads,etc., that it takes that basic human instinct to socialize with others. When I go to restaurants, a lot of customers would rather text than talk to the person they are with. Alarming and sad.


    • likeitiz says:

      Indeed, the attachment to the devices can be deleterious to more personal human interaction. People can hide behind them. I have promised not to have my device on the table when we are eating. At hoe or in a restaurant. It’s part of “being present.”


  3. I am SO excited to start into Downton Abby (haven’t seen a single episode but have heard such great things!)


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