I like TV. Some might say too much. But depending on my mood, TV has various functions in my life. There's the social function, where I will watch The X Factor at a mates house, gossip all the way through it and only pay attention to heckle talentless pretty boys. There's the bonding function, as seen in the whole separate language my Dad and I have, derived from the world of our favourite TV. There's the time-filling function, valuable for staving off boredom or being temped to do something useful, like housework. And, of course, it's an addiction. I just have to tune in and find out what happens next, even with something like Heroes, which, let's face it, is basically pants these days.
But for me TV fulfills another function - it keeps me sane. When I have a problem that just can't be fixed no matter how much I think about it, I turn to box sets. Classic escapism. Okay, this probably isn't to be recommended when you have a problem that actually can be fixed. I once spent two weeks watching Battlestar Galactica in a Scarlett O'Hara-esque attempt to think about my problems at a later date, only to solve them all in five minutes flat when I turned my attention to them. Still, time spent following the fleet is never time wasted.
But whenever things are getting on top of me, there's nothing like TV to switch my brain to calm mode. When my cat was run over the day before my GCSEs started (oh, many years ago), Numfar's Dance of Shame on Angel cleared my head and let me focus on revision again. And this week, with my Grandma in hospital and 20 foot of snow and a broken trainline between me and her, I resorted to Doctor Who. Gran is now on the mend, and I felt much better for a week of being lulled to sleep with dreams of the lovely David Tennant rather than nightmares about death and mortality.
So, have I found a savvy way of coping with life, or am I just avoiding the issue? Maybe I'm just a cold fish and other people can't forget family illnesses with one buzz of a sonic screwdriver. Am I alone in utilising this coping method? It's cheaper than therapy, if nothing else. Although at uni, repressed exam fears and an overdose of Carnivale led to nightmares of being chased by Clancy Brown. Maybe I need to be limited to two doses of escapism a day.