A full year has passed, now, since I cancelled my cable subscription and unplugged the television. I’ve been without TV at home that whole time. The decision was made to accomodate my desire to read more, write more, and communicate better with people in my life. I also thought I could save money, making good use of the more than $600 that I was handing over to the cable company over the course of a year. Here are some observations, so far:
I didn’t save money. Time that I might have spent in front of the TV was spent in front of my eBay home page. That’s not where a competitive person should occupy himself.
Because there was no TV, I had time to develop this blog, and that has been good for me. It’s not the kind of writing that I expected to happen, but I think it’s a nursery from which necessary words will eventually emerge (and some already have).
I did not read as many books as I imagined. Much of my reading was of a technical nature, researching for the kayak purchase and use.
Correspondence with friends and family did not seem to be affected. It seemed to happen no more and no less than before.
Some church members who learn about me not having TV in the house don’t quite know what to do with that. They think it’s a religious conviction (like giving up some item for Lent) or that I’m trying to be Amish (not really). They’ll hear me refer to something I saw on TV at a friend’s house or while staying in a hotel, and their reaction is odd, scandal-scented, like they caught me smoking weed or something. Then I have to explain that, no, it’s okay if I watch TV, I’ve just decided to not have it in my home for a while. I’m not sure that clarifies anything. One person taunts me, at least weekly, by saying, “Hey, did you see such-and-such on TV last night? OH, that’s right…you don’t HAVE television!” He enjoys that. Some folks have the impression that I don’t like TV; to the contrary, I like it too much, and that’s part of the point of going without it.
I have missed TV. Even now, I have the consistent urge to flop on the sofa, turn on something funny, and disengage from reality. It was strange to not watch the NCAA basketball tournament and Final Four, to miss the entire baseball season, to not have Saturday night BritComs, and to miss all the great machinery and science of The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel, History Channel, etc.
Not sure what I’ll do next. There’s no rush to change what I’m doing, but eventually I’ll probably get TV again. Maybe there’ll even be some updated equipment.