So, I guess I’m a freak

I got a call from the cable guy standing outside my apartment building today. [Short story: no buzzers on the building and the doors are locked. Guess I'm lucky I never get visitors.]

Seems they had never turned off the cable TV, which he had done. “It won’t affect your cable internet and I’d be happy to turn it back on. I can even offer you the 1st month at half off. ….” Actually, he was quite pleasant, but I said no thanks anyway.

I’d much rather spend my time reading Farradane, Coates, Beghtol, Green and others. My TV works just fine when fed DVDs.

I had never even thought to try hooking up the cable. Looking back at all the things I’ve read over the past 9 months makes me happy I didn’t. So much time could have been wasted. [I'm not claiming TV is worthless or that there is nothing good on; only that it is a time sucker. Personally, I've chosen other time suckers.]

Yes, I know I’m a freak.

10 thoughts on “So, I guess I’m a freak

  1. Lol you’re not a freak. I wish I had the ability to pull myself away from the idiot box long enough to get some really good reading it. Or at least do some decent homework. I just find I’m not that motivated to read these days which is really sad because I was a complete book worm when I was younger!

  2. I used to do that, jenny, especially back when there was a wife and kids at home, and I’m pretty sure I did it when I moved into my first apartment after the divorce.

    The cable wasn’t on but I managed to get Fox tuned in with the rabbit ears so I could watch The Simpsons, Futurama and That 70’s Show. Which eventually became those and Ally McBeal and …. And that was back in the day when I didn’t think anything productive could be done in the half hour between Homer and Bender. I finally pulled the antenna and packed it away.

    I think I tried the cable at my Urbana apartment but seeing as I only lived 200 ft from the cable company it hadn’t been too difficult for them to terminate it.

    With this move to Champaign I was just so much out of the habit that I never even thought about it. Which, for me, is probably so much the better. I am so easily distracted. As Jolie sings, “Springtime can kill you….” [Jolie Holland, "Springtime Can Kill You," Springtime Can Kill You]

    I love the Spring for many reasons–all the flowers, the return to (overt) life, the warming weather, the T-storms, all the excitable little critters stirring to life or returning–but it’s also hell on a distractable, single boy.

    I imagine there’ll be TV in my life again some day, but I’ll have to caught by one of those other distractions first. Funny how one distraction leads to another…. ;)

  3. Hi Melissa and welcome!

    Well, it certainly isn’t an easy thing to do in our culture [I imagine Australia is pretty comparable on this axis]. Almost everyone watches TV and it is one of the 1st topics of conversation whether as chit chat or actual conversation.

    Even ads are now a major form of pop culture. I’m often getting references to, or direct discussions of, some advert. I generally just let the person keep going and (from my view) humor them. Although, sometimes you can figure out the context without having seen it, but not very often.

    Another reason for me not to watch TV is that I do talk back to it, especially ads! There’s always some idiot commercial that starts out, “I don’t talk about feminine hygiene [hemorrhoids, insert whatever here] products any more than you do but …]” Well, fool, YOU are on TV talking about it so it’s pretty clear that that statement is false! I answer their dumbass rhetorical questions. I dispute their false claims. It can be fun, but is generally just frustrating.

    Perhaps if our ads were of the level of European ones–well, as they were in the mid-80s to mid-90s which is when I last saw them–it’d be more worthwhile. And nowadays some ads are so freaking abstract that I have no idea what they are even advertising. Whenever I’m at the exes and the TV is on I inevitably have to ask what some commercial was for. And that is after having seen it a couple times since I just figure I missed it the 1st time. Some people claim that it is a good way to get you to remember the product; perhaps for some. They just baffle me, even after I’ve been told what they’re for.

    Anyway, tough to be a non-TV watcher in today’s modern mass media society.

  4. My relationship to the tv has been evolving for years, and I’m really conflicted about it. For the three years prior to moving into this apartment, I didn’t have cable, and I got NO network channels, so I watched a lot of movies and tv on DVD, and read.

    Now I have cable, due to Drew, and I watch waaaaaaaaaaay more tv than I used to, but mostly only the stuff I’ve DVRd, so I’m selecting the good stuff over the crappy stuff. Still, I’m reading far less — and that’s due in part to picking up a new hobby (knitting) that’s easily done while watching tv, but not while reading. I’m trading hobbies out. But I miss reading, and am making a concerted effort to do more of that and less visual input.

    On top of all of that, some friends of mine have a pull-down 8 foot screen with projector, and we have twice-a-month-ish TV nights, where we watch Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica and The Daily Show and South Park and whatever tickles our fancy on the gigantic screen in a group of about 8 people, which is the best of everything — socializing, commentary, and television shown as good as it gets.

    It’s just part of our culture, but finding the right personal balance is hard. I think I’d be happier if I were bittorrenting it off the ‘net, because then I’d JUST be picking and choosing, and never have the temptation of a live tv feed.

  5. All good points, Jenica.

    Even if I was tempted, there’s too many other toys that I want before a DVR so the cost of cable and a DVR are (currently) way down on the list.

    Knitting certainly would make reading difficult. My ex used to crochet while watching TV, and although she read a decent amount she couldn’t crochet and read at the same time.

    Maybe all you folks who do stuff with various kinds of string should rise up and demand an e-book reader for the television. [It's OK, Walt, I was only joking!]

    I like the idea of TV night, although I’d be a cultural primitive in such company. I’ve never seen a single episode of The Daily Show and have never watched a whole episode of South Park. [I realize that I just gave several people a heart attack.] Depending on which Dr. Who I have seen some of them, but a long time ago.

    I do own some TV shows, though. I have a couple early seasons of The Simpson and Futurama, and the 1st season of The Muppet Show. I’d like a few more things, but single movies are generally cheaper (at least on a gross scale).

    I’d have loved to have Northern Exposure, but Walt pointed out that they ended up changing some of the music for various reasons related to rights. That is simply unthinkable to me! Although the show had odd stories and quirky characters–which I loved–it was the music that sort of cemented it all for me. I have 2 CDs of music from the show and I just can’t imagine it being changed. Of course, I’m fairly certain that I might not even notice if I wasn’t already aware of it, but still.

  6. I didn’t have a TV growing up, and it has affected me horribly. If a TV is on in the room, I can’t ignore it. Can’t do anything else–I never formed an immunity to mindless drivel I guess.

    It’s strangely quiet in my house right now. My husband left on Saturday for PA, and the TV has only been on twice (during dinner last night while I watched a recorded show, and during lunch this afternoon while I watched…a recorded show). He always has the TV on when he works. Maybe that’s why I was so productive yesterday…

    But there are two things I will watch whenever I can: college basketball and Lost. I’m afraid I’m addicted to those two things as much as I am to coffee.

  7. Hey, Jennifer. We all have our addictions, although they can sometimes be kicked, which is what I did when I finally put away the rabbit ears.

    Perhaps if I made more money I’d be more likely to pay for access, but I don’t and I’m not.

    I have no doubt that not having TV growing up had some effect on you, but I’m not sure it’s the cause of your inability to ignore a television that’s on. That is a problem for most everyone, including me. They just tend to suck you in. Of course, like anything, some folks are better at ignoring them than others.

    The worst thing about my favorite bar back in Normal was that they had 6 TVs! 4 in the corners of the larger part of the room and 2 over the bar. They were always on and I’d often find myself staring at them instead of reading, or engaging with the folks I was with. Often with no idea how long I had been staring at it. :(

  8. Does not make you a freak. In my case, I often have the TV in the background while I am online reading the aggregator or drafting something. It’s either news or some documentary program, or a film I am watching for the upteenth time. There are a couple of shows I may watch, but overall, I fall on the camp of “there is nothing good on it” and not ashamed to say it. Anyways, best, and keep on blogging.

  9. Thanks all for disagreeing with me about being a freak. :)

    I certainly didn’t mean it in any deep way, just that it seems a bit odd in our society NOT to have even tried the cable.

    It does make me feel a bit better to know that other people are also conflicted about their television viewing. But then you are all bright, engaged folks and I would sort of expect so. ;)

    Angel, I do similar things but with the radio or CDs. I don’t even put in the music videos, though; something about that video just sucks in my eyes and brain.

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