Sunday, February 13, 2011
Hello Cable-Free Life
"Okay. NOW is the time, cable needs to go. I'm sick of it, I hate it, and I don't want it anymore"...
10 seconds later-
"Well, maybe I'll just get rid of the digital cable package and hold on to basic cable, just in case I need a TV fix. And I'll definitely NEED to watch the news. A person can't live in this world without up to the minute information on what is happening on the other side of the planet.......right??"
7 seconds later-
"NO. No-no-no-no. The point of cancelling cable is to CANCEL the cable. The basic package is not necessary and I don't need it."
5 seconds later-
"..........but what about that show 'Parenthood'??? It's getting really good now and I can't miss the next episode because the one girl is dating that guy behind her parents back and now she's gone and run away from home just so she can date him and......oh screw it. Cable's going."
You know what the really sad thing is? I had conversations like that with myself for DAYS. It really shocked me at just how addicted I was to a box in the corner of my living room. What sealed the deal for me though, was seeing the immediate change in my kids just as soon as the power came on on the TV. They were instantly transformed into zombies, unaware of their surroundings and put into a state of complete mush-brain. It could have almost been turned into a game. Turn the TV off, they snap out of it and start playing. Turn the TV on, they freeze, flop onto whatever piece of furniture is the closest to the TV, and are motionless and unresponsive. I could have had fun with that. Anyway. After convincing myself that neither me or my children were going to die from lack of television provided entertainment, I made the announcement that there would be no more Dog the Bounty Hunter or Billy the Exterminator, and that was that. Not a whine or cry was to be had by anyone, surprisingly. The first day without the TV on was a tiny bit strange. There was a quiet in the house that wasn't typical, and of course we were all left up to our own devices to keep ourselves occupied. It turns out it wasn't that hard of a thing to do. I started catching up on books that I've been "too busy" (because of watching TV) to read, and Gabe and Vaeh started getting along in a way that I don't see very often. I started noticing that we would sort of migrate to the same areas to be near each other, even if we were doing our own things. I would be in my cozy chair reading a book, Vaeh would pull out a puzzle and find a spot on the floor right by the chair I was sitting in, and Gabe would put together a stack of books and plant himself right next to his sister on the floor. There would be this blissful, content quiet throughout the whole house while this happened; all of us peacefully enjoying our chosen activity but also silently enjoying the closeness of each other. We are a very close family as it is, but this was something new for us, and it was beautiful.
I can't say that TV has been non-existent in our home as we have started a nightly routine of watching Little House on the Prairie on DVD every night before the kids' bedtime. Does that even count though? And if I am absolutely desperate for a TV fix, there are always programs out there like Netflix and of course online. I can honestly say though, that we haven't missed one second of not having cable in our home, and it makes me wonder why I didn't do this ages ago. The last two weeks have been filled with baking, reading, crafting, conversations, cuddles under blankets, story telling by the fireplace, and a terrific feeling of freedom. I can't recall a time in my entire life where I didn't have cable. I grew up in front of a TV so it's no wonder why I was addicted, and the fact that it played such a prominent role in my life made me wonder if I could even do this without breaking out into a cold sweat and calling the cable company, begging for my service to be restored while I'm curled up in the fetal position. Let me tell you, if I can do this anyone can. It really does feel like breaking free from an addiction. It's a sad thing that something like cable can have such a grip on people, and I'm so glad I'm no longer one of those people.
Goodbye cable. Hello life.