Deborah Rose column: Fewer options make for happier times

Deborah Rose

Deborah Rose

Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media

It happened again last weekend.

With the TV remote in my hand, I found myself staring, uninterested, as I scrolled through an exhausting list of shows and movies to watch.

Nothing caught my attention.

I started scrolling from the top again, as if I must have missed something, or that the options had miraculously changed since I had looked a minute earlier.

No miracle. So, I switched over to the remote to peruse streaming services and found myself in the same boat, but with a bit more frustration as I occasionally hit the incorrect button and ended up selecting a show to play, rather than continue scrolling.

Again, nothing caught my eye.

I tossed the remotes on the couch and sighed with disappointment.

I thought I heard one of my late grandmother’s whispering in my ear, suggesting I just pack away the remotes and instead pick up a book. Sorry, grandma. Not today.

Sometimes I just feel like I need something on, either as background noise or to actually watch. We all experience that feeling at some point.

One day I might need a comedy, another day I might want a drama. It depends on my mood.

But it seems I more often than not find myself frustrated by the offerings. In those cases, I tend to put on something familiar, like a movie on the Hallmark Channel or a show like “Impractical Jokers,” even if I’ve seen the episode or movie already.

There are umpteen number of streaming services available today. It’s hard to keep track, at least for me. I’d like to think with all those choices, I would be more excited about what to watch.

There are plenty of binge-worthy shows and I’ve watched my fair share of those over the years. And my daughter and I have watched a handful of shows together since the pandemic started.

But it’s not easy to always find something we both can watch. It can be challenging enough for me to find something for just me!

There are just too many choices and too many choices can lead me — and I’m sure others — to just shut down. It gets to be too much.

Take a look at the cereal and snack aisles. How many different boxes of cereals are there? How many different snacks? And the snacks — oh, the snacks! A brand can’t just have one or two flavors, but now there are a crazy amount of flavors — and some of these new flavors just shouldn’t be — for items such as crackers and cookies.

Let’s talk about toothpaste. It’s something everyone uses. And look how many different choices there. Half the time I can’t even remember what toothpaste I use when I go into a store because so many others stare back at me.

Think about how many of us shop these days — online at retailers that have access to thousands upon thousands of items. I have found myself on some of these sites scrolling for hours, getting caught up in comparing multiple items and reading reviews.

I can’t say I’m a lot closer to making a decision when I decide to call my “research” quits.

We are inundated with options, too many of them, when it comes to many things in life these days. And TV and streaming services are included in that.

Perhaps that’s why I find myself aimlessly scrolling in search of some show or movie that will catch my interest.

There’s something to be said about the televisions of yesteryear, the ones I grew up with — the color and black-and-white TVs that only offered 13 channels. Sure, the shows didn’t necessarily come in clearly, but I only had 13 shows from which to choose.

I picked a channel, or didn’t, and that was it. Minimal choices. It seemed a happier time.

Deborah Rose is a lifelong New Milford resident who has worked at The Spectrum since its inception in 1998. She can be reached by email at