At the risk of sounding like some old man, “Hey you kids, get off my lawn!”, the cost of being entertained or finding enjoyment in anything but one’s own solitude has become totally of out hand. I mean I’m no spring chicken, late baby boomer would best describe me, but I like to think that I’m open minded and young at heart. It just seems that there are very few entertainment options that do not require setting up a special savings club at the Credit Union. Yes, I would like to set up an account for my child and myself to see the next Star Wars movie, at 5% yield, mind you).
When you think about it, everything has its cost. Even something innocuous as sitting on the couch watching a movie on cable or satellite is a slowly turning utility meter ticking off your precious minutes into definite monetary increments. Take your cable bill and divide it by the number of minutes you actually sat watching tv or better yet, calculate the minutes by quality or satisfying TV you saw; the number would be even higher. Your time, my time, has value. Even sitting in a room with no TV on, I’m spending money. The electric is still on, there is water at the ready in my faucet and I have environmental controls at my finger tips, depending on my internal thermometer.
Going out of the house is worse. As soon as I hit the pavement, the money starts to jump out of my wallet. There is the gas and car maintenance to tally. The movie theater? They better be showing a high-budget action, roller coaster of a ride, flick before they get my hard earned cash. You know I am going to research online all the reviews and best midweek, midday matinee special before I step foot onto their sticky floor, broken down chair movie house. And the concession stand? Sure, let me fork over $30 for some stale popcorn, flat soda and a box of Raisinets, that I could have pick up at my dollar store for….you guess it, a dollar.
Ok, forget the movies…let’s just go out for an entertaining meal. What’s the harm in that? Well, any restaurant worth its weight in pepper grinders is going to run you a pretty penny as well. Throw in drinks, you did want a drink, right?, and you’re looking at a $30 per person bill. And forget the restaurants that have cloth napkins; that’s really going to cost you. It better be somebody’s birthday.
I won’t even discuss hitting the malls of our adult lives; the casinos. Even if you go in with a certain amount, the odds are you are most likely to leave with far less than you originally planned to spend. It’s the nature of the beast.
Alright, let’s head to the beach. We can just walk on the boardwalk and people watch. Everything seems innocent enough until you add up the gas, parking meters and food you ultimately ended up eating, You just had to have beach fries, didn’t you. Then you remember you forgot to feed the meter, You did bring a roll of quarters, didn’t you. So, then you’re stuck with a parking fine that costs more than if you had parked in that sweet spot, only three blocks away, all day long.
At least radio is free. I don’t count satellite, I refuse to pay for radio. With my favorite radio station(s), I can usually hear one of my favorite songs or artists at any given time. I have a lot of favorites so it’s pretty easy. In our local area we are also fortunate to have some very entertaining live, local and engaging personalities. So, whether it is music, sports or talk radio, I’m generally assured that I can find something on the dial to entertain me without feeling like someone has their hand in my pocket. Although I bet those crafty radio people are right now figuring out a way to do it.
I guess I would have to say for my money, or lack thereof, my favorite type of entertainment is a good, old fashioned nap. With a nice afternoon nap, I can drift off and be totally engrossed in my dreams. They are almost always contain original content, very few repeats and can be either comedy and/or horror. Sometimes both in the same dream sequence. Try that TV. And the best part…a nap doesn’t cost me a thing. Oh, I forgot…I left the lights on, Ugh.