I decided not to renew my cable TV service once I moved my family to take a new job in late 2003. I find it’s easier not to start something if you ever have intentions of stopping later. My family lived in an apartment at the time and cable was included in the rent. So, the decision was a combination of not wanting to fork out money for the service and asking the simple question, “what if?”
However, just so we’re straight, I currently own a TV. And we do watch movies. My son and I are into Star Wars Clone Wars which I download from iTunes (don’t know if that counts as “having cable”). All this to say that I’m not anti-TV. Heck, I’m not anti-cable. But I did make a few observations last week I’ll share here.
My wife and I had family visit us last week. We live out of state so this was a rare occasion. These family members (heretofore known as guest “x” and guest “y”) will remain anonymous because they are the most generous, awesome people I know. This isn’t an exaggeration. And my purpose here isn’t to rant either. It’s simply to point out a few things.
The fact that I didn’t have cable never crossed my mind before they arrived. It didn’t occur to me that someone besides myself might actually have an interest in watching TV. Because that’s what people do when they’re bored, right? Watch TV. This is amusing because not having cable is old hat for me.
I mean, geez, I gave it up over seven years ago. It’s like not wetting my pants. I don’t do it but I don’t think about not doing it either. But my two nice guests did notice my TV deficit.
The first “I can’t believe you don’t have cable” shot across the bow came from guest “y” as mildly humorous comments about favorite TV shows. Followed by comments about DVRs and how, my goodness, without them we would be doomed to miss our must see TV and be subjected to commercials for eternity.
Then the torpedoes came out. Darned if the World Series doesn’t get played sometime every October. And, as usual, the NY Yankees were in the playoffs. A definite must watch for guest “x”. No problem, though. I was willing to pay $10 bucks for the privilege to watch the entire championship series online. I’d hook my laptop to the larger TV and we’d be good to do. Problem solved.
But, before long, the lack of 24 hour news channels nearly sunk guest “x”. I knew from experience that my broadband provider doesn’t do well with, shall I say, non-paid for streaming anything. I found this out after trying to watch college football online a few times via Australia. I know, don’t ask. But, hey, I
drool uncontrollably over like college football. I’d reached the end of my “the interwebs and Google will solve world hunger” options.
So, after a mild case of jittery, mid-week TV withdrawal syndrome for guest “x”, I did the only thing I could think of—nothing. And, to be honest, I probably could have found a solution somehow. We could have hit a local restaurant to catch up on the day’s news. But something happened that made me decide not to relieve the situation.
One afternoon, I walked by the guest room and saw guest “x” snuggled on the bed reading a book with my three young children. I don’t know about you but if that’s what I get for giving up cable TV, I’m giving it up forever.
I’ll leave you with a few questions. Instead of thinking about what you’ll have to give up if you ditch your cable TV, what will you gain instead? More time to build relationships? More time to read stories to your kids? Whatever it is you gain, I can tell you first hand…it’s worth it.