I’m sitting in the dark watching Netflix in a room that smells like pizza. I don’t know what time it is, where my pants are, or the last time I washed my hair; only that I’m staring at a screen. Netflix turns off my brain while I recycle the day’s bullshit. Like a broken security camera, my eyes gaze without recording. It’s my stay-at-home drug, a lousy stream of toxic trash that’s turning my brain into instant oatmeal. I’m a body bag of lazy bones, and the only way I know how to relax is to curl up in bed with my MacBook Air and iPhone. I’ve let myself go.
That’s why I’m deleting my Netflix account.
You see, it all comes down to math. I watch Netflix for 2 hours (on average) a day. That means I spend 14 hours a week, 56 hours a month and 672 hours a year watching TV re-runs, 2-star movies and documentaries about serial killers. In one year, I’ll spend $96 and sacrifice an entire month lying in bed with no pants on. Netflix is turning me into an idiot. If you ask me to describe what I last watched on Netflix, I genuinely couldn’t tell you because I can’t remember. Maybe Planet Earth? I kind of remember a polar bear and a murder. I’m not sure. And I still can’t find my pants.
Netflix-induced amnesia isn’t the worst part either; I’m wasting my roaring twenties watching movies that I’m not paying attention to. When I’m 95, and my granddaughter asks me what I accomplished when I was her age, I’ll say, “Well sweetie, I watched the entire two volumes of Nymphomaniac in two days!” She’ll look at me with confused eyes, terrified to offend her coo-coo grandmother, and she’ll politely nod her little head as if I changed the world. But I didn’t change the world. I was too busy watching some lady have sex with a bunch of people to do anything spectacular with my life.
Comparing myself to others doesn’t help. Think of all the incredible things other women accomplished at my age; women who didn’t have Netflix around to distract them or make them stupid. Mindy Kaling started writing for The Office. Ellen DeGeneres became the funniest person in America (no big deal). Amy Poehler started the Upright Citizen Brigade. Madonna changed the world with her debut single “Everybody.” Sarah fell asleep watching House of Cards with a tub of ice cream in bed (cue the applause).
But things are looking up for me.
Now that I’ve deleted my Netflix account, I have 2 hours each day to be an Improved Person of Interest (IPI) to the world. That involves reading every single poem by T.S. Elliot, painting my nails Revlon red and making time to wear face masks so my neck doesn’t wrinkle when I’m 30.
In 672 hours I plan to write a short screenplay, draw a comic strip to submit to The New Yorker and get a six-pack (well, maybe a lightly-defined six pack).
My life won’t change immediately, but over time, it will. With 2 extra hours, I’ll have more time to read Kurt Vonnegut, eavesdrop in coffee shops and write poems about Whole Foods. Being a young person doing impressive things is easy when 24 hours feels more like 26 hours. There are spectacular pictures to draw, notebooks to write in and hair that needs washing. With so much extra time, I can finally start a podcast about the joy of microwaving coffee and join a picky-eaters brunch club.
The possibilities are endless when Netflix isn’t around.
When I’m ancient, and my brain becomes a heaping pile of cigarette smoke and mashed potatoes, I’ll look back and wonder what I could have done differently with my life. And I’ll be relieved to know that I cancelled my Netflix subscription to live my life a little better in my mid-twenties. Lord knows my final days will be happily spent watching 35 hours of Making A Murderer when I physically can’t walk anymore, and I’m pissing the bed. But for now, it’s ludicrous.
Meanwhile, while the rest of Toronto hibernates in a state of Netflix paralysis, I’ll be befriending boredom with books, pens, a dildo and pencil crayons. After 672 hours watching Netflix in one year, I’m reprogramming my brain to remind me what relaxation means. Talk to me again in one year’s time and I guarantee you I’ll be a smarter person than I am now; a woman who’s well-read, never bored, with super nice skin, freshly washed hair and a lightly-defined six pack. The future is looking very smart for Sarah.