Linda Boyne: Goodbye, beloved Tivo
Edwards, CO, Colorado
A sad event happened last week in my home. I kind of knew it was coming, but I ignored it, hoped it wouldn’t happen, pretended that if I didn’t acknowledge it, it would disappear.
Denial only takes you so far in life. Eventually it catches up to you.
After five years of a beautifully symbiotic relationship, my beloved Tivo died. Gasp! And right in the middle of sweeps, when the networks are broadcasting their best and brightest.
I feel like I’m losing a member of the family, and, honestly, there were some days I kind of liked Tivo more than my family.
I’m just so sad and lost without him. I have no idea when my favorite shows are actually on. I’m so used to watching them whenever I feel like it, knowing that dear Tivo had them all collected and waiting for me to enjoy. And I loved being able to stop or rewind live TV, to answer the phone, tell a child to go to bed or to see something again in slow motion. Oh, how I miss that.
He tried to tell me for the last month or so that something was awry. A small pitiful cry for help, flashing a message periodically that he couldn’t find his second satellite connection. “Help me. I’m lost. I’m starting to lose my mind. Do something!”
Then he started momentary mid-show scrambling, making the picture briefly unrecognizable and the dialogue garbled, like he forgot what he was doing for a moment and then pulled it together again.
It wasn’t long before he began forgetting to record things. Sometimes they were new things programmed in at the spur of the moment. But other times they were things we’d been recording and watching together for years. Oh, Tivo, how could you have forgotten the Ellen comes on at 3 every day? We love Ellen; she makes us laugh and dance.
The blackouts started a few weeks ago. I’d turn on the TV and couldn’t change the channel, couldn’t get to my “Now Playing List.” Nothing. He was just frozen, unable to do anything. I knew he was slipping away from me when I had to pull his plug and restart him every few days to get him back on track. And then every day, and finally, at the end, several times a day.
Oh, the good times we had together, sweet Tivo. When I knew you were passing, I looked back at the few things I never deleted from you. The hour-long retrospective shows before the final episodes of “Friends” and “Will and Grace” back in 2004. I knew you enjoyed them as much as I did.
And Oprah’s “Legends Ball,” another green dot/”Keep Until I Delete” show, left so we could both watch it to be moved and inspired again and again. For the countless hours of entertainment you gave me over the years, I thank you.
I will miss you, old friend.
Maybe I was too hard on you, making you work too much, often recording two things at once, working your remote like a concert pianist plays the keyboard. I didn’t give you an easing-in period. I made you jump from sitting quietly in your box to full-time, on demand work. And I am a demanding viewer.
I truly sang your praises to anyone who would listen. You were appreciated, revered even. You made my life easier, more enjoyable, simpler.
No more messing with video tapes, rewinding or searching for an empty space. No more forgetting to change a tape and recording over something else or missing an episode altogether. You were reliable and dependable and I loved you.
But now I face the dilemma of how to lay him to rest. I can’t bury or cremate him. I simply can’t bear the thought of putting him in the trashcan, like yesterday’s, well, trash. I wish I could recycle him to another loving home, but it’s just too late.
Perhaps a burial at sea is appropriate for such an American hero, but I can’t imagine anyone else would appreciate seeing my Tivo floating down the Eagle River on his way to the Pacific Ocean.
Somehow I will bid you adieu, beloved Tivo.
Linda Boyne of Edwards writes weekly for the Vail Daily. She can be contacted through email@example.com