Friday, June 5, 2009

Giving It Up

I think people are ridiculous sometimes. I'm ridiculous.

I just called to have our cable service disconnected. The whole kit and kaboodle. Unlike most things that I *quit* (usually, I just go "cold turkey" - decide to do it and do it), we weaned ourselves gradually, over a very long time . First, we cut back to what they call "lifeline" - which is just the network stations, PBS, and a couple of shopping channels.

Since there wasn't much to watch, though, no one has really watched television for a while now ... except Precious, who likes her morning PBS, but who can also get her visual fix just as easily from any one of the hundreds of videos and DVDs we have.

So, we've been paying $20 for this service that no one in my family really uses, and as we also have the aforementioned personal video library, a wonderful selection of movies at our local library, a family member who works at a video rental place, AND a subscription to Netflix, where we get not only movies in the mail but also access to their huge selection of instantly downloadable movies and other programs, it seemed wasteful to be spending that $20 for cable ... and a little redundant.

I mean, we're paying for an Internet connection, too, and many of the programs we might have watched on the television with our limited viewing options are available for free on the Internet - along with a lot of other really fun programs we don't see on any of the stations that were available to us.

Still, it's a little weird, almost like cutting one of the lines holding my boat to the dock with a storm brewing on the horizon ... but not like that at all.

It was really like letting go of something I've held onto for years and years and years, because ... because it was familiar and comfortable - like a worn-out pair of shoes I can't even wear anymore, but can't seem to get rid of.

A couple of weeks ago, I freecycled the extra television and VCR/DVD player we had in a bedroom. I kept saying I was going to do it. Kept saying and kept saying and kept not doing for a very long time. When I finally did, it was not a wash of relief, but a stab of fear and a little bit of melancholy. A What did I just do? followed by What's done is done.

It's just funny to me, how we hang on to these things that really add nothing of value to our lives.

I've been saying for a very long time that I was going to disconnect the cable, but I didn't, because Deus Ex Machina and our girls said they didn't want me to. The other day, Deus Ex Machina visited the PBS website and discovered that most of the programs our girls enjoy are on the Internet, and he said, "So, why do we have cable, too?"

And I quipped, "Wow! I believe a very wise woman has been asking that same question for a couple of years now."

He said we should disconnect it, and that should have been my greenlight, and I should have nearly twisted an ankle trying to get to the phone to call the cable company.

But for some reason, I hesitated.

And the envelope sat on my desk for a couple of days.

I looked at it today. There's a picture of some people in an exercise class, and the caption underneath says, When doing the things you love keeps you from your favorite shows, DVR it!"

I picked up the phone and called them, immediately.

When did the television become such an important part of our lives that we will give up things we might really enjoy doing, because it interferes with our favorite shows?


  1. We don't have cable, we have a little 13 inch TV and with the digital conversion we can't get PBS. This time of year there is nothing even remotely entertaining on TV. It is just thumb exercise.

    and yet... habit has it turn on for the evening news and whatever follows after that...I have found that this week I go to bed early and spend the night reading. I read a book in three evenings. Think I need to come up with a reading list. Gee what a shame:)

  2. I haven't had a Television set for 10 years now. The internet has been my entertainment and news and I read quite a bit. It's always funny when you tell folks you don't have cable/TV, they look at you like you are an alien from outer space! I love that look *g*

    My fave was a client who asked me... "don't you want to stay informed?" HaHaHaHa.... I read 6 or 7 newspapers, alternative news, the major stations, etc. I'm probably better "informed" that most folks. Sheesh...

  3. I always seem to keep it because I was raised w/out cable (I've got some great Alaskan/family stories that make me giggle today regarding TV) and it seems so decadent. Plus I kinda keep it around because I know it would be something easy to cut if we had to you know? That probably doesn't make much sense...

  4. I hate tv.......but my hubby watches it after I go to sleep. I hate to take the one thing he really enjoys away from him, so we pay $58 a month. Ack.

  5. Like Sue, I keep the cable for the husband, but he is rarely home (works away) and I find myself watching Little House on the Prairie or Roseanne for the umpteenth time instead of doing things a bit more enriching. I actually called our provider this week too to cancel, but found out we are locked into a contract until Sept. I would have to pay $350 (the exact amount left to pay with cable). I had no idea our contract was so long (we've had this provider since 2007).

    I will feel that same sense of relief when it is gone from our lives.

  6. Congratulations Wendy.

    I gave up TV in about 1978, many years before my kids arrived in their various manners. So, the kids grew up without TV. Which I think was great. And still no TV. Never missed it.

    Hmmm that means I gave up TV before there was even such a thing as paying to watch it.

    You won't miss it one bit.