I don’t understand why, but Shai likes to have the television on, usually a movie channel, 24/7. There’s a break during which there is the morning news in Israel, but the TV is on all the time. He leaves it on when he isn’t even home.
The time we got robbed when we lived on Moriyah, one of the reasons the burglar was able to walk through the place, enter his room, and rifle through his pants hanging on a chair less than a meter away from him, and walk back out undetected is because of the noise from the television running. This was 10+ years ago. I tried to break him of this habit then. I couldn’t. I didn’t give up on it though.
Eventually, by pointing out the hypocrisy of complaining about electricity bills and having a rather large television blaring at all hours at a high enough volume that it could be heard clearly throughout the entire apartment at the next one, I got him to have it turn off automatically at night, and to turn it off when he wasn’t home sometimes. Still, if he was home, which is most of the time since he retired, there was the constant noise of the television.
Since we moved to the last apartment, it was impossible to work most of the time because in the background of any videos would be the sounds of the television. So I had to wait until he wasn’t home or until after the thing automatically shut off at night. I adjusted as best as I could, but I still lost a lot of jobs because I couldn’t get a moment of silence that my body didn’t shut down so I could get some sleep or my mind didn’t seize on the moments of quiet to process things one needs quiet to process.
Last month, a problem that I’ve had to a lesser degree since I started my period, got worse. I started having visual distortion and then serious cluster headaches. My blood sugar wasn’t too low or too high, and I was drinking enough water. I think my body just decided it had had enough of the incessant Hollywood noise.
For him and most people who didn’t grow up in the U.S. and aren’t in the groups who would be marginalized based on visual appearance, the shows are all just a kind of fun fantasy. For those of us from there and in the more aggressively hated, erased, or downgraded groups, most of them are humming in the background, “You don’t deserve to live. You don’t deserve nice things. Your needs don’t matter. Nobody should care about you.”
Trying to explain this to Shai has been difficult. It isn’t obvious to him, so it’s some illogical thing that I must be insane to feel. So I have given up on trying to appeal to his logic. Telling him that this constant noise is, and it is in the literal sense, psychological torture/emotional abuse has also failed to make it stop. So I am no longer appealing to his compassion.
At 0500 waking up from nightmares, I had to go to his room to turn off the TV. I woke him up and fussed at him about it. Then trying to get a nap I woke up again to find him gone somewhere, but the television left on. I can’t help feeling he’s doing this on purpose. So I confronted him about this again, and he gave the same childish responses again including the “why don’t you just kill me”. So tiring.
Tonight was the last conversation I’m going to have with him about this issue. If the television is more important to him than me then why am I here?