Missing Space

I was watching Voyager on Netflix the other day, in which a Klingon Janeway was being murdered to death by a Hirogen hunter on the holodeck and I noticed something that I’ve noticed before, and it’s something we all know, at least anybody who has ever watched conventional TV knows, and the number of those people will fade with time and disappear. That is, that when the super dramatic scene suddenly cuts to black and returns 2 or 3 seconds later to the exact same point, maybe even a second or two previous, that’s where the commercials went.
The whole show would be abruptly interrupted for about 5 or 6 minutes of 8 or 9 commercial messages, selling everything from laundry detergent to tooth paste. I’m old enough to remember when they still allowed advertisements for cigarettes. In fact, I have been told that the first complete sentence I ever spoke in my life was “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.”
But, I don’t miss them. Nobody misses them. Just like nobody misses the massive amount of bugs that used to be caked on your windshield after any moderate length road trip in summer, and we know that is a harbinger of ecological disaster, nobody misses that because it was a damned inconvenience. We notice when something positive is added to our lives although, ungrateful shits that we are, we soon come to take it for granted. Mobile phones, for instance. We notice when something positive is removed, and we scream like a stuck pig when something negative is added, like a requirement to wear masks. But, when a negative is taken away, we barely even notice.
I am not sitting here right now thinking, for instance “Oh, I’m glad I don’t have a piece of chicken stuck between my teeth” although for an hour or two yesterday (it was probably about ten minutes, but about two hours perception-wise) that was the focus of my thoughts and my vision of paradise was to not have a piece of chicken stuck between my teeth.
It’s just a couple of seconds of blackened screen, but it is also the ghost of something we will not miss, a quiet and brief reminder of something we used to complain about, which is now gone.

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