Of TVs and Chekhov

My new radio is fine, except for the sound, which is hollow, and not as good as my small transmitter with a separate little round AUVIO speaker attached.

There is one TV in the house, which I watch rarely: weeknights about 20 minutes of the old one-hour Perry Mason shows and on Sunday night the old Bob Newhart show.

However, almost every room has a radio, and where there is none, a small portable can go with me, either the transistor or a wind-up that should never need a new battery.

Some friends and relatives leave their TVs on all day long, some even falling asleep in front of them. Others have no idea what program is on because the purpose is just to keep them company. When I call them on the phone, the TV is turned off right away — unless hubby is watching, in which case it will be turned down to a sound level he can tolerate.

Years back, one friend used to keep his TV on, and I enjoyed watching movies when visiting him. When he visited me, he turned on my TV as soon as he came in, then neither watched nor listened.

Now, the CD player and DVR player, left to me by their owner, are beyond me because I never got directions. He had wires to switch around, plug in and unplug, and sometimes even he briefly forgot how, so it was not as simple as one might think.

My first problem was to remove the subtitles, a distraction. A friend said that his wife figured out everything with their TV, but he would try to help me. He actually did get rid of them — such a relief.

I have always enjoyed, and greatly admired, Anton Chekhov, reading and seeing his plays performed. I have a greeting card on the kitchen wall with one of his quotes: “Any idiot can face a crisis. It’s this day to day living that wears you out.” Before my friend gave me the card, he wrote inside, “Just keep taking one day at a time. You’re doing great.”

That’s pretty good advice. Some might add, “Pray.”

Byrna Porter Weir was born and grew up in Houlton, where her parents, Ina and Porter, were portrait photographers. She now lives in Rochester, N.Y.  

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