I’ve had this feeling before. Once when I was far away from home and realized I didn’t have my cell phone with me. Another was when I watched as my finger deleted an important email that I had not yet read. It’s a peculiar sensation that only technology, with all its accompanying foibles, can elicit. It’s like a cold sweat.
I’m sitting here, in my new/old house WITHOUT television. I did it. I said I would and I did. I called the cable company and stopped my television service as of today. OK. Yes. I still have a functioning television set, old as it is with its humped back and antiquated aspect ratio. But I felt I should wean myself gradually by keeping it off even though I have full knowledge that it is still there. My television’s heart is still beating, but the lifeblood of the cable has been ceremoniously, if not virtually, severed. This is a test of my will. I need to determine the true level of my addiction to the drone of that box. No longer will I be able to use the TV as an chemical-free Ambien. I’ll need to buy a thermometer to find out how cold it is outside. I should buy one of those radios that will warn of impending weather emergencies. And when next the phone rings and the voice on the other end commands: “Turn on the TV!”, I won’t be able to comply. I’m now in a TV-free zone.
Just the idea of this excites me. No more commercials. No more bad news interrupted every three to six minutes with more commercials. No more reruns of Seinfeld that I feel compelled to watch even though I can mouth all the words as they are spoken. No more tapping my thumb through the rosary of the clicker in a futile attempt to find something good to watch. No more graphic murders; no more sweaty, screaming preachers; no more spitting Chris Matthews and his tribe of commentators who haven’t had anything new to say for about four years.
This house will be deadly quiet unless I play a cd or turn up Pandora. There will be nothing to distract me and nothing to pull me away from the work I have to do to finish this painting. I can slip in a movie, or I can settle into the silence that my cat seems to love so much.
Kudos to me for at least trying this experiment. I imagine I will succeed so well that I will wonder why I ever had television in the first place. I’ll have my MLB on my computer as I have for the past six years. I’ll simply give up watching the NFL. I’ll search for alternatives like NOVA, which provides its programming for free online, and seek out other educational opportunities only when I have the time to do so. If it’s possible, I’ll get more books read. I’ll cook more, clean more, and, wait for it, maybe even blog more. My whole house will look, sound, and feel completely different from now on. I am very committed to my new lifestyle. But wish me luck anyway.