My schedule is all out of whack. Maggie and I have been house/dog-sitting, meeting with mortgage lenders, and trying to adjust to daylight savings time all at once. I’m lucky I can remember what day it is!
Away from our usual entertainment, Maggie and I watched normal TV for the first
time in months. I’d forgotten how annoying ads are. No sooner would I get into a plot
than they would break it off and try to sell me something. I felt like one of those
kids they test for Sesame Street to see when they look away from the screen. As soon as
an ad came on, I’d lose focus and start looking around (usually egged on by some dogs
desparate for attention).
Unlike Maggie, I actually like TV and think it can have a positive impact. Shows like
Lost and Heroes get you thinking and can provide a fun way to
interact with other people (I’m not the only one who had Saturday evening family time to watch Dr. Who, am I?). I also have an real respect for a well-told story in
any medium. Nevertheless, our opinions mesh over advertising. It’s specifically made
to distract when you want to be doing something else.
I love that the choice is no longer TV or no TV. We have a TV (how else would I play my Wii?) but no cable and no access to broadcast channels. Although we’ve got some shows on DVD, most of our viewing is through Netflix. When we weren’t so busy, and it wasn’t as nice outside, we had two movies out at a time but at the moment we’re making do with one. I’d love to see a cable plan that let you do that.
But then I’d still have to deal with the ads, so it’s probably better this way.
At first, I had a hard time dealing with no TV. I kept wondering what was on and what I was missing. As time went on, I realized that I was using TV as a distraction. It wasn’t that I wanted to watch TV, it was that I didn’t want to do what I was doing (and couldn’t be bothered to think of something else).
Now, I’ve filled my time with other distractions. Reading, playing games, working, even writing for a blog. I no longer get stuck for hours when all I really wanted was a fifteen minute break. I haven’t noticed any social stigma either. There are enough channels and shows that nobody could watch them all, so nobody is even particularly surprised when I haven’t seen the episode they’re desperate to talk about.
I do wonder how universal my experience has been. How much would other people miss live TV shows if they only used the TV for watching DVDs or playing video games? Do people really want to watch TV or are they just looking for a distraction?
Give it a try and let me know how it works! Even if you go back to cable in a week, you’ll have skipped almost fourteen* hours of ads and that’s got to be worth something.