“Did you watch Sons last night?”, my co-worker excitedly asked another work colleague in the middle of our ‘cubicle’ area.
“Oh my God…what a great first episode.”, was the equally excited response. “The season is off to a great start!”
I smiled awkwardly at the two of them. My head volleying back and forth, clearly this was a television show. “Is it new?”
“You’ve never seen Sons of Anarchy?”, the excitement now shifting to shock. As my co-worker gave that look, knowing what I was about to say.
“Sorry, I don’t have cable and that box never worked. So no television.”, my face getting hot. “I’ll let you two catch up though.”
Here’s the shocker, I actually love television. Documentaries, half hour comedies, reality television, and anything related to cooking. I grew up on Happy Days followed by Laverne & Shirley. Different Strokes which led to The Facts of Life. As a latch-key kid (remember that term in the eighties) I would come home to ‘kid programming’ like You Can’t Do that on Television, and then on to repeat sitcom shows. As I ate dinner, I would watch the local, national, and then gossip news. As I got older, Murder She Wrote was replaced by Moonlighting. Please don’t get me started on how much I enjoyed network programming like MTV and VH1, as well as life beyond basic cable.
Over ten years ago, I made the decision to go back to school. The housing market was pretty good and we were able to sell our house, move into a condo, and live off of ‘almost’ one income. Cable was one of the first luxuries to go. As Sharlene was working a full and part-time job, it also meant limited distractions. Another benefit was a break from post 9/11 news media, and the flood of anxiety-ridden information that bombarded our world at that time.
As we prepared to have a family, we purchased cable for a discounted rate. It was the perfect time to watch shows like Design to Sell. I became pretty obsessed with the cooking channel as well. I was sucked back into five years of missed comedies, legal drama’s and crime shows; and don’t forget reality television. It was just the escape I needed. It took very little time for me to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information and opinions of the media. Within a very short amount of time, I stopped watching television obsessively. As we prepared to move with our newborn, we cancelled the cable package.
While on vacation a year ago, my son asked to rewind the show on television. I stumbled trying to explain to him that he was watching television and not a movie. “You know…like the television at grammama’s house.”
“Oh…yea, I forgot.”, he smiles.
We did get cable for two days when we changed internet and phone services. I flipped through thirty channels and was left disappointed. I can get my news online, and stream movies through Netflix. Although I feel bombarded by advertisements on my kindle, it feels less overwhelming. The only time I really miss television is when I’m left out of those ‘cubicle/water cooler’ conversations. I have discovered a quiet group of others who do not watch TV or limit the number of shows they watch. We do spend a lot of time talking about books, music and ‘shows’.
So, perhaps, I’m not so sorry!