Goodbye to Television

17 Aug

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A little more than a month and a half ago, when we moved to our new spot downtown, we got rid of our TV. It was a really big TV, too. Obnoxiously big. We got it at a yard sale, after our first TV (which was given to us by our old church) decided it had put in its share of broadcast time and no longer wanted to work. It was really a last-ditch yard sale trip, because I just couldn’t bear to spend money on a new TV before seeing what the driveways of our town had to offer.

At the last sale of the morning, we pulled up to a nondescript house with kids’ toys scattered out front. And then we spotted it–a giant silver screen. Mr. Jones was positively giddy. We decided on our price limit before leaving the car, so no hearts would be broken. With each step we took up the driveway, the TV grew larger and larger. It took an extension cord, a search for a remote, and a bit of fumbling, but the picture worked. After a trip to the ATM and a ride with me and the massive electronic box in the back of our pickup truck, it was ours.

Months later, in the middle of watching a random show, one or the other of us would laugh and exclaim, “We have a giant TV!” It felt a little silly, frankly, in our small apartment. But it was cheaper than buying a smaller, new one, and as two people who had grown up with less-than-standard TV sizes, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

As much as we loved watching movies on the big screen, life kept getting busier. The batteries in our remote died, and we never replaced them. When the end of our lease drew near, I started to get in the “uncluttering” zone, eyeing everything in the house with a “do we really need this” laser stare. Caleb was actually the first to suggest leaving without the giant box. Our new place wouldn’t have cable (the old one included it with the rent), and the idea of moving the TV wasn’t very appealing.

So we sold it. Now, my iMac sits in the living room in our new place, and I haven’t missed having a “real” television one bit. Granted, it’s not like we’re truly roughing it–thanks to fantabulous inventions like Hulu and Netflix, we’re still able to enjoy watching our favorite shows now and then. But when we do sit down to “watch TV,” it’s much more intentional. We know that we’ll watch one 20 minute (yay, no commercials) episode of 30 Rock and then move on to something else. Or enjoy a few clips from the previous night’s Daily Show, then head out for a walk.

As entertainment continues to appear on more and more platforms, the shared experience of live television is beginning to erode. In a way, it’s a little sad–the idea that you are watching something at the exact same time as THE ENTIRE COUNTRY (well, almost) is a fun one. But I don’t miss the evenings of looking up at the clock and realizing I just spent three hours watching…what did I just watch? Sometimes the best form of self-control is simply removing the tempting box and it’s many channels.

Now you know–I’m one of those crazy people who doesn’t have a TV. Or a microwave, but that’s another story.

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9 Responses to “Goodbye to Television”

  1. Kevin Alford 17. Aug, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    Welcome to the microwave/tv free club :D Proud member for over 2 years!

  2. Jim Ward 17. Aug, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Nice post! It’s great to read of someone else having a very similar experience. From the uncluttering to your position on entertainments place in our days. I’d much rather catch Jimmy Fallon from the previous night while on my lunch break via iPad. Thanks for the read!

  3. Richard 19. Aug, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    I too don’t have a TV. Hurrah! In the UK you have to pay a TV License to watch live TV which costs £145 per year.

    But you don’t need one to watch stuff online which is not live, so we just do that.

    As you say, this makes what you watch more intentional, and you don’t end up channel hopping and watching stuff you are only half interested in.

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