I’m looking forward to some cool air moving through my neck of the woods here in Florida over the next couple of day.  I’ve grown to love the warmer weather too, finally, after all these years (decades really) of being a Florida girl. I enjoy the feeling of the hot sun soaking into my skin; it feels nourishing. But I can’t resist the joy of those first few days of the change, when the cool air has its way and makes its way all the way down to Tampa Bay.

Yesterday and this morning I’ve been finishing up writing about the last few days I was in Altamonte Springs – really I was in Orlando because I was taken to a seedy strip motel down on Orange Blossom Trail and left there, with my two garbage bags full of dirty clothes, for a week. I watched a lot of television during my time there alone, and as I was writing about that I started thinking about soap operas.

My mom used to watch the soaps back in the sixties and seventies, and when I was alone there in the hotel I gravitated toward watching them as well. They were a way to escape from whatever it was in your own life that you needed to stop thinking about for a while. Lord knows Mom had some stuff she didn’t want to think about and so did I.

The Internet has been a great tool for researching old stuff; I can go back and find out what was going on in the General Hospital story line during the time I was cooped up in that hotel room in 1979; it jogs my memory and makes the writing richer. Laura had recently married Scott Baldwin and it would be later that same year the infamous Luke would come along and stir the pot. Somehow it was OK that Luke raped Laura and then they fell in love and married after she left Scotty – well, that was a sign of the times I suppose.

My years-long addiction to GH began there; a few years later when I was a young mother I would cut out my sewing patterns on the floor in front of the television and watch all the ABC soaps: All My Children, One Life to Live, General Hospital. I never sat still and watched; I always had to be doing something at the same time – cutting fabric, cross-stitching Christmas stockings, feeding babies….

I don’t watch television any more; I mean that literally, I really do not watch television at all. We do not have a cable subscription or an antenna to pick up any channels, though we do have a television we use to watch movies and individual programs from time to time through Netflix or Amazon or Hulu. I think about the old soaps fondly but whenever I catch a glimpse of them now they seem campy and poorly done. And I’ve got too much to do to waste time sitting down watching shows! I don’t need or want to escape anything in my life anymore; life is far from perfect but it’s all meant to be lived; I only have One Life to Live so I’m not going to waste it on television.

Written by Tina Gasperson

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