Why I Can’t Watch Real TV (and Why I Don’t Really Mind)

  Alright, I’m going to try and write this post without sounding like an insufferable, pompous penny-hole…because I know that’s what you’re thinking.  “Oh GAWD, she’s one of those ‘no tv’ freaks…”, but hey…I don’t do it because I think I’m better than those of you who are still on the television “grid” (come on, I purposely watch Spartacus, obviously I’m not doing this because I’m too high-brow…) and I don’t do it as some sort of statement against society… I just… don’t watch tv.

  Now, I guess I should explain, since in one sentence up there I said I don’t watch tv, but also admitted that I watch a terrible, terrible television show.  What I mean when I say that I don’t watch tv is that we don’t have tv service.  No cable, no local channels even…the only way our tv is hooked to the wall is where it plugs in for electricity.  Actually, now that I think about it…our tv can’t even receive service anymore.  We never upgraded after the switch that everybody else had to do for HD or digital or whatever it was.
  Obviously if you’re a thief checking blogs to see who has the fanciest tv to steal, we’re the hot target.  Good luck lifting our non-flat screen dinosaur.
  When I moved out of my parents house to go to college, buying a tv wasn’t high enough on my priority list to warrant spending the money.  I lived in the dorms and figured if I really wanted to watch something that badly, every single other room in that place was likely to have one.  The years went by and it just never turned into something I felt I needed to own.  I don’t think I got to a place where I lived somewhere I considered the television to be “mine” until my Mr. and I bought this tv in 2005 or 2006…and that was because cuddling while watching movies on a laptop computer screen was insanely difficult.  This television has never been connected to “real” television…we essentially use it as an enormous computer monitor.
  So when I say “I don’t watch tv”, I only kind of mean it.  We have a Netflix subscription, we have DVDs and we aren’t above hooking a computer up to the tv to watch something from Hulu or another streaming site.  What I really mean is “I don’t watch commercials” and “Spoilers really aren’t an issue, because by the time I get around to seeing the show you’re talking about I’ll have completely forgotten what you said” and also, a little bit “I don’t have the patience to wait for weeks in between episodes.  When I like something, I sit down and watch the entire series in a week.”
  There are disadvantages to this.  We never know what people are talking about when they say “oh I’m sure you’ve seen that commercial” (we haven’t), and barely knowing what Jersey Shore is, let alone if we’re horrified or intrigued by it does make small talk a bit more difficult, but for us at least, the advantages far outweigh the negatives.
  • When you have to make a conscious decision about what to watch, it’s easier to avoid sitting down and losing a whole afternoon.  
    • One of the houses I lived at in college did have a tv.  It was in the living room, and I did my best to avoid it, because I found, much to my horror, that if I sat in front of it, I would lose entire days to the thing.  There was nothing I particularly wanted to see, but I didn’t have to take any action to just keep the brainless entertainment going.  When you have to fill a cue with shows you want to see, it’s much easier to recognize that maybe you don’t want to watch tv so much as you just need a nap.

  • No commercials
    • Holy god…commercials are insane.  Growing up around normal tv I never recognized it (it’s really easy to get accustomed to them) but now…I can’t function in a room with “real” tv playing.  Commercials are loud, fast, way too much information…I just shut down and stare anymore.  Yeah, not watching them means I don’t know what the new hot thing I “have” to have is….but hey, not watching them means I don’t even know that I “have” to have it.

  • Ultimate parental control
    • I don’t ever have to worry about something inappropriate popping up after the show G is watching, nor do I have worry about a fight starting over him getting 3 minutes into the next show and wanting to finish it.  When I say one, half hour show, the tv shuts down after that episode and doesn’t play anything else til I tell it to.  Which sometimes I do.  Because sometimes Mommy needs more than half an hour of Bob the Builder to recover from a morning of playing.

  • Pause and Watching on my schedule
    • Ok, so I’m pretty sure most people who watch real tv anymore have Tivo, so this one isn’t a huge tv/no tv deal, but I love that I can fit the show to my life, instead of tailoring my life around a show.  Sorry networks, you’re not the boss of me.

  Like I said…there are some disadvantages.  If you’re a die hard sports fan?  Obviously our approach would be murder on you, but we’re more rock-climbing-and-boche-in-the-back-yard sports people than Fantasy Football types, so it works for us.

  I’m certainly not going to try and persuade any of you that you should be giving up your television (as I said, I’m trying to NOT be a penny-hole), but, if you’re finding yourself frustrated by a lack of quality time in your day…time to get to the gym, to read or to work on hobbies… it might be worth considering trying this method.
  I’m currently 12 years tv-free…and have no plans of plugging it back in.
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