Thursday, February 05, 2009

Living in a DVR World

“It changed my life.” I don’t say that about many things.

A few years ago my father-in-law upgraded from an older model Tivo to a newer. He was singing the praises of Tivo and asked me if I wanted his old unit. I said “Sure” without much conviction. I had a VCR where I could record programs so I didn’t “get it” as to why he was so enthused about a DVR.

I received his old unit and literally didn’t connect it to my TV for nearly a year. I forgot about it. Then I heard a few other people talk about their Tivo and really for the first time “got it” that you could not only record TV programming but you could stop live programming, rewind for up to 30 minutes and play it again. This meant that if I got a phone call in the middle of a program, or a family member needed my attention, or I wanted to go to the kitchen and get a snack, all I had to do was press the pause button. I could come back anytime within 30 minutes and resume watching.

This past Sunday I watched the Super Bowl with friends. Throughout the game we were not only entertained with the commercials we were looking for the one second Miller commercial and the half second Ivars commercial. We couldn't believe companies were paying big bucks for what amounted to a micro advertisement.

When the mini commercials blew right by us we stopped the programming, pressed rewind and viewed the commercials again. This practice of stopping a live program and pressing rewind is a regular habit of my television viewing. If I missed a word or phrase of important dialogue I replay it. If the network doesn’t give me the replay on a great basketball move that I want to see again I replay it. If something was really funny I replay it.

This “DVR way-of-life” is a little dangerous. Now I find myself in a live conversation and if I wasn’t listening carefully enough I feel my finger twinge like I want to press the rewind button. I’m driving down the street and catch something out of the corner of my eye and my finger twitches. My control over the television doesn’t translate into control over real life.

The look in someone’s eye, the expression on a baby’s face, the nuance of someone’s comment can’t be recaptured if I wasn’t prepared to seize the moment. If I fail to seize enough moments then I’ve failed to seize the day. That can lead to missing out on a lot of life.

God help me to not be careless in connecting with others, with experiencing the moment, or with communing with Your Presence.

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