Most of my friends, family and clients think we are freaks because we do not have cable TV. It is always so amusing to watch people's expressions when they ask if i have seen the latest reality show or news flash and i reply "No,we don't have TV."
WHAT? How do you live without TV? What do you mean you don't have TV? What do you do?
Even though i explain- well- yes we have a TV.. just not cable so we cannot actually watch anything on TV except dvds. We do get netflix movies that arrive in the mail. We go to the library and borrow movies... and books to read. I still get that look as if i had just said, "Klaatu, the Mother-ship has just landed. Take me to your leader. Would you like some plutonium?"
In fact we still own a TV that is about 9 years old. No flat screen, not a take up the whole wall high def yada yada TV. Its old and our dvd player just died over the weekend. So we are forced to watch our movies on my iBook. Do we care? Not really. But it seems to really upset the people i tell. Not sure why- it's not like they are forced to sit here and watch it!
We have not had cable for about 6 years now. It was odd how it happened. It was not intentional. Around the time of Hurricane Katrina, those evil GWB years i was addicted to CNN, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The Daily Show, Steven Cobert, David Letterman... well you get the idea. Non-stop news in various forms which pretty much kept me on edge with a deep smoldering anger at what was happening in the country and planet.... and the perpetual stress of what will George Bush and his cronies do next?
That summer my husband and i had the opportunity to stay with the Monks of New Skete. If you don't know who they are they are famous for their books on training dogs. Known for their German Shepherds, they are a renegade bunch of ex-Roman Catholics who turned Orthodox. Smart monks with a sense of humor. They are located in a very quite wooded area in upstate New York where the only sound are birds chirping, crickets, matins, vespers and dogs barking. No television. No cellphone reception. Nothing but.......quiet and lots of German Shepherds.
Three glorious days of quiet. No news. Amazing... and i did not miss it. The silence combined with the puppy breath was the best thing i had ever experienced in such a long time! I was addicted. It was the closest thing to heaven. I cried when we had to leave. If only we could live there. (Well we could - it's just that we are not Orthodox Catholic. Instead we now visit the Monks at least once a year for our Divine canine therapy.)
On the drive back we were forced to stop at one of those mega-gas-stations with a McDonalds, and every other crappy fast food restaurant imaginable all in one location. To get to the bathrooms one had to navigate through the huddled masses standing in line for their Big Macs and super-sized fries. Every corner had a huge TV blaring FOX NEWS. I guess Mobil Oil has to support their patrons somehow. Hearing the sound of FOX blasting through the aroma of donuts combined with french fries was unbearable.
Arriving home in Salem, the noise of cars with heavy based boom boxes driving by seemed extra loud. In fact everything was magnified. It was as someone had turned the volume up. The thought of turning on the TV was repulsive to both of us. And so that was the beginning of the end of our TV cable. It was cancelled shortly afterwards.
Because of that decision we read more, lost weight, went to the library once a week for BBC classics, listened to more music and most of all- i was calmer. I no longer needed to know the latest antic of GWB or if the world was going in implode that day. It did not matter. So liberating.
The down side to this is now i cannot stand to hear a TV. If i go into someone's home and it is on, the sound floods my head. Unbearable. I make dog clients turn it off before i treat their dog. I refuse to eat at any restaurants that have multiple TVs blasting. I quit my health club after they added a nonstop TV to the women's locker room, not to mention every machine there had a TV monitor on as well. (Do you really need that thing on ALL the time?) Can we no longer eat, exercise or get a manicure without television looming the in background all the time. Are we really that terrified of the silence or the thoughts that may occur if we are not distracted by mindless noise?
Can we declare a Turn Off Your TV Day? There is a day to stop smoking. Should there be a 12 step program for TV addicts? Come on .. i dare you... turn it off. See if you can. You will live- i promise!
Ironically one of my favorite John Prine songs (even before my ban on TV occurred) is Spanish Pipedream in which the chorus sings, "Blow up your TV"
So sing along with John Prine - it will amuse you while your TV is turned off!
Can't see the image? click here to see the youtube
"Blow up your TV, throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an' find Jesus on your own"