Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Leave Me Alone, Al Roker!

© 2009 Leighann Lord

I hopped into a cab on my way to do a spot at The Comic Strip. I reached reflexively to turn off The Taxi Cab TV but there was no off button. What the Frak? There's usually an obvious red "off" button on the bottom right side of the TV touch screen. Today, it was painfully absent. With the TV blaring I said to the driver, "Excuse me? Can you turn this off from up there?" "No," he said. "I'm sorry." So the best I could do was turn it down, but I was still visually assaulted by a dazzling array of bright, quick-moving video images and Al Roker.

This attack on my senses is not unique. I was sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's office. I and two other people were quietly reading. One woman was flipping through a magazine, the gentleman was engrossed in a novel and I, as usual, was on my laptop. Suddenly, the receptionist came out, remote control in hand, and turned on the TV to some mind-numbing morning show. Seriously? Perhaps the look on my face made her belatedly ask, "Do you mind having the TV on?" The other two gave half-hearted, acquiescent shrugs. I spoke up and said, "Do we have too?"

"Uh ... okay," she said, turning it off, the room returning to a blissful, blather-free silence. "The Doctor thought it was a little too quiet in here." A little too quiet? Thought we'd over hear the screaming, did he? Before I could stop myself, I said, "It's a little early, but would you like me to ring up a few friends, call a DJ and make it a party?" The receptionist didn't answer, choosing instead to return to the safety of her glass enclosed cube.

That was probably best. My DJ-on-call days are a bit behind me. The best I could do was aux in my Ipod and hope everyone liked my 80s House Music play list. But Marshall Jefferson is not for everybody. Even hard core House Heads may not be inspired to "Jack, jack, jack, jack your body" at 9:30 in the morning.

Now I must admit, I might have reacted differently if the TV had been turned on to Judge Judy. If they had tried to call me in for my appointment in the middle of a case, there’d be problems.

My Dentist has a TV in the waiting room AND the examination room. But he has never one asked me what I want to watch. No CNN, History International or Cartoon Network for me. My choices are Rachel Ray and Wheel of Fortune. "I’d like to solve the puzzle, Pat. What is ‘Hell no!’?" I’d prefer a root canal.

My Dentist has a wicked sense of humor, so I should be grateful he doesn’t make me watch something from the Saw franchise. Besides, if the TV is there to distract me, it’s not working. Once the chair reclines and the Dentist goes to work, all I see is the bright over head light, and all I hear is the whirr of the drill.

Is this how old age starts, with a need for peace and quiet that quickly devolves into sensible shoes and dinner at 4 o’clock? But truthfully, I've always been like this. I remember going to night clubs in college and being dismayed that the music was so needlessly loud. "How am I supposed to have a conversation with anybody?" I screamed at my friends as the baseline reverberating through my marrow. Yes. I know. I'm odd. But as we age there is a natural loss of hearing. At some point the music will need to be loud for me to enjoy it. Why rush it?

This is perhaps one of the few good reasons to have children later in life. By the time they’re teenagers, they can play their music as loud as they like. Mama’s not gonna care.

We've had TVs in the back of Taxi's for quite a while now. At first it was novel. Now, it's annoying. I feel overstimulate to the point of numbness. (Perhaps this is what my Dentist is trying to achieve, saving money on novocaine.) I don’t need to be constantly entertained. Sometimes I want to hear, see and do nothing. Sometimes I want a break from The Matrix. Sometimes I want an Al Roker-free cab ride.

Leighann Lord is a standup comedian. See her perform Monday, 12/7, at Tom Ragu's Comedy Review @ the legendary Stone Wall Inn in NYC. Check out her other upcoming shows @ www.VeryFunnyLady.com. Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter. More at

1 comment:

s. dot said...

I'm only 24, and I concur!! Sometimes I wish I could just put everything and everyone on mute.