Expectations are tricky, and they are everywhere. Some are covertly subliminal and others brash and smacking you in the face at every turn. It seems that no matter how staunchly we shore up our defenses against disappointment, those expectations find a way to sneak in a cold-cocked whack to the jaw every now and then.
I don’t watch TV any more; not in the traditional sense. I view a few of my old favorite shows online. I expect that I am better off not watching TV, sucked into its forced scheduling and endless commercials, watching mindless shows while waiting for the one I want to see. The old VCR used to ease some of that pain. I could watch the shows I wanted and fast forward through the stupid commercials, but then I’d be watching my shows a day late, after everyone else saw them, unable to participate in lunchroom discussions about them.
I skip the majority of the pain now by watching my shows online. I see them a week late now, and that’s ok since my half-hour lunches are too short to get into any sort of discussion at all, let alone favorite TV shows. I’m not even sure any of my coworkers have favorite TV shows, let alone be the same ones I enjoy.
At first, watching online was ad free. Now, not so much. I don’t have to sit through endless commercials like with TV, but that may soon come to an end. It started with one commercial stuck in where you’d expect a commercial break. Then, it became two. Now, we’re up to 3 and 4. And this all happened within a few short months. There’s not quite enough to leave it running and make a quick dash for the bathroom, so there’s no choice but to hit Pause, make the pit stop, then come back and sit through those stupid advertisements for brand new cars I’ll never be able to afford or Geico car insurance that I already have and now know for certain that my premium payments go for idiocy instead of in the pot to pay for any accident I might have.
And there’s Christmas commercials. Not all the time, not like I’m sure I’ll see in a few weeks; but still, it feels too early to be pumping Christmas when Thanksgiving hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it’s because I never noticed before when I used to watch TV because I spent commercial breaks in the bathroom. I guess Thanksgiving isn’t commercial enough to go overboard with advertisements.
Now there’s this commercial from Kay Jewelers. Have you seen it? This little boy dressed as Santa comes into the room with his antler-adorned dog and hands his mother a little box with a bow on top. She opens it, sees this huge, garish ring I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing and sighs an “oh, Santa” into dad’s eyes like it’s the greatest thing in the world to get that dime-store piece of junk – that, by the way, retails at $2,400 to $22,000 that flashes quickly by in the fine print at the end of the commercial. Like, that ring under the Christmas tree will really make for a perfect life! Seriously?
Hey, somebody better fax Kay Jewelers fast about the recession and the disappearance of the middle class. That ring is too cheap for the 1% and the rest of us, the 99%, sure couldn’t afford that huge waste of money! And, I’d be calling a divorce lawyer if my husband took out a second mortgage to pay for a gaudy status symbol like that. No, that is not the dream life, the desired way of living I expect. Nothing could be more out of reach than that. Jeesh!
So, here I am going about my business today and it hits me. There are times when my iPhone takes as good as photos as my souped up point and shoot. Now that’s inspiring! It also blows expectations out of the water. And then I see a bin filled with the remnants of the welding class across the hall.
Expectations aren’t limited to technology and the entertainment industry or even the marketing ploys of worthless-to-me products. There is a lot more, engrained deeply into our being so that we are not able to identify them as expectations but instead know that they are a given. There is that steel, the fragments of a sheet of metal left over from creating something. It sits in an industrial bin, piled high, waiting for recycling. It hasn’t been there long, maybe a day or two, yet already it is rusting, deteriorating, pitting and weakening. Metal, the strongest of building material, yet shows that its strength is compromised by the briefest passage of time.
It got me wondering about a lot of things. There’s a mountain of things I still don’t understand and I wonder how much of that is because of rusty, old expectations.