11/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Abundance of Tubes

I had lunch with a lovely new friend today, a woman who is new to LA. Her husband is a TV critic. As much as she and I had in common as female humans who worked in and around media all our lives, what we didn't have in common were the cultural references. I told her that the Fashion Institute was up the street from where we were having lunch, and she said, eagerly, Oh yes, Project Runway. (I had no idea the two places were linked.) We talked about the inevitable comparisons between LA and the east coast, and how new everything seemed here, and she referenced a scene from Mad Men. Etc. etc. I had to keep saying, Ugh, umm, I don't know those things, or rather, I know those things but I have never seen them. And now I have no excuse. But first I have to figure out when these things are actually on. I know that's not hard to do but I just haven't got the inclination yet.

T. came over for dinner tonight. It was the first time he'd been here since I got the TV. Helicopters were swirling about my downtown apartment. Not just one but several, for what seemed like hours. Menacing noise above. At one point there was a march of police cars screeching through the streets. What to do? Retreat to the television to find out what was going on, naturally. There wasn't a word, of course. The local news headlines had to do with that poor girl in Connecticut who was murdered.

T. felt compelled to take out the computer to search a bit more, with no luck, no answers. Then he wanted to show me the Kanye apology I had slept through on Leno the night before. We'd both seen clips during the day but he wanted to "watch it together." And while we were at it, Taylor Swift on The View. Here I am watching YouTube with the original Tube behind me. An abundance of tubes. For that matter, we could have watched these videos on our iPhones. The Leno commercial said all episodes would be online for free. Surely there is no reason to be paying for this cable.

By the time Leno came on, T. was falling asleep. He was alert enough to keep me from taking the laptop out to check whether Michael Moore really had lost weight, as he claimed to have. He looked larger than ever to me. Soon it was 11 p.m. and Leno was tossing to the local news, and there was still no information on the helicopters overhead.

The best part of the night was when we talked about the Peer Pressure Happiness article in the NY Times Magazine this past week, how who you keep company with influences what you do, how you behave, how you feel. Of course it just seems logical, doesn't it? Which is why I think it's been a bit of a public service all this time for me not to have television, a bit of a good influence, perhaps, on the people around me.