Monday, August 31, 2009

An Incredibly Stupid Idea

I am setting myself up not only for failure - but public failure. BUT........ I need to do this.

Ever since I got the idea of giving up TV for one year and blogging about it, I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Sometimes I would feel excited; most times I would feel sick. Sick-scared. Sick-what the F- am I thinking.

Now if you're one of those people who "doesn't watch TV" or "only watches PBS" or looks down your nose on TV and its audiences...get off my blog. Bug off. Adios.

I am a Baby Boomer raised on TV. It wasn't by babysitter like it often is now for babies and children, but it was always there. When I came out from my bedroom to go to school in the mornings it was on. When I got home from school it was on. When we sat down to eat supper it was on and visible from the dining room. It could stay on as long as we didn't shush anyone to hear it, and as long as we didn't crane our necks to see it. If we made an issue out of watching it my father would make us turn it off. After supper the TV on and stayed on until my parents went to bed. It was as much a part of our household as the family pet.

I determined when I grew up that I would be different; I wouldn't have the TV on 18 hours a day. And it wasn't on 18 hours a day usually. When my children were young we ate in our kitchen so we never watched TV during a meal. After supper we watched TV every night, though, and on weekends the kids watched Saturday morning cartoons and we watched weekend movies. There were many times during the day when it was OFF and I was proud of that.

As the children became teens the TV stayed on more and more. We bought a VCR and now we could watch movies not once or twice, but a MILLION times. (ex: Annie, The Goonies, Dirty Dancing) My daughters would flip on the TV as soon as they got home from school to watch their favorite shows. I would arrive home after an hour commute and walk in to the TV blaring with jokes and laugh tracks; my irritation level would hit the stratosphere and I would long for quiet.

Now my girls are grown with their own families and I live in a condo walking distance from the beach. Peace and quiet are available 24 hours a day and I've fallen into a rut of TV from immediately after work until I go to bed. I schedule my days around "what's on". I'll do chores doing commercials; that is, if I'm not just flipping channels. And I have no time for the things I really love: writing, photography, reading, the beach, and so much more. The theory that "A body in motion stays in motion" is certainly true, because a body sitting on its buttocks stays sitting on its buttocks. And the buttocks grow and grow as the body grows more listless and less energetic.

So I got this crazy idea. Imagine what my life would be like without TV? Without TV shows and TV lineups and schedules and commercials and the news and reruns and next on.....? I thought I'd cancel my cable TV service and just keep my Internet service, and with the money I'd save on the cable TV service I would subscribe to NetFlix. You see, sitting down to watch a specific movie or DVD is not the same as watching one show after another after another.

Today I called my cable TV provider Comcast and told them I wanted to cancel my cable TV service, but keep my Internet service. In their typical customer service style they pointed out that my bill would INCREASE to $63 per month if I only had Internet service. I would no longer qualify for the discounted service that I have now that costs me $48 per month. I stuttered a bit; sometimes the inanity of the cable company does that to me. And I told them forget it; I was keeping my service. I refuse to pay more for less service. That's stupid. So tonight I will disconnect my 3 TVs from the cable connection. And I'll just have to be a bit stronger than I had planned to be.

Stupid jerkass cable company.

I don't expect this to be easy. I am 55 years old and I remember my first TV show: Lassie. I was 2 or 3 when I fell in love with that collie dog. And now I'm about to end a 52-year relationship. Or at least drastically change it. And I hope in the process to find out a lot about myself, to find more time for the things I love, and to face my fear of the silence.