Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Four Years Long November

this is not Nancy
When we moved to the Sacramento area, I met Nancy, who has become a very dear friend. She is sensible and even-keeled, and she has an amazing way of getting my thinking back on track. But early on I learned she and her husband had no TV and hadn't owned one for years. What, is she CRAZY? How do you not even own a TV. But I grew to love her anyway.

Several years back, I decided to not watch TV for a whole week. I can't believe that was such a big deal, but it was. We had never had a large TV, a nice TV, or more than one TV and we have never paid for cable. If we had it where we lived, we had it. If not, we would set up rabbit ears behind the TV cabinet. In our last place, we had free cable for quite a while (don't ask, don't tell) but then they cut us off. How rude!

Even under the circumstances I just described, I was a TV junkie. Never in the morning, couldn't stand morning shows, and late night shows were always on so late at night. But I was in from Oprah on. I loved the news, the more the merrier and then came the crime shows. The theme music to Law and Order would give me a rush. I loved the shows about kidnapped kids and unsolved murders. Once when I was watching a particularly sad one, Ernst came in and said "Do you know how awful that sounds? Why are you watching this?" All that sadness and those graphic crime details were streaming into our house, and I was letting it all in with the remote in my hot little hand.

But reality shows were never my thing. I can honestly say I have watched only one episode of American Idol. We were in Sacramento from Tahoe, I had minor surgery and was recuperating at the home of a friend before heading back up the hill. I saw the last show of the first season, and in my Vicodon induced stupor couldn't figure out what the fuss was about. We also watched the second half of the first season of Survivor and that was it. I've never seen Dancing with the Stars. I've never seen The Apprentice. The only reality show we ever liked was Amazing Race. We viewed it as practice for when our friends Micah and Jennifer would stage one of their totally fun local versions.

The first time I gave up TV for a week was huge. I was climbing the walls. I was right back to it when the week was over. But four years ago this month, I decided to give it up for four weeks. Since November starts with NO, I thought it would be a good month to go cold turkey since it has 30 days, not 31. Let's not go crazy here. Here were my thoughts:

Week One - I'm climbing the walls
Week Two - This is not too bad, getting so much more done
Week Three - I kind of like this
Week Four - Let's go six months
Second Month - OK, a whole year, I'll go a whole year
Sometime in the first six months - I never EVER want to go back to watching TV, never ever, can't stand it, hate the color of it, the noise, the flashing images, the news, the shows, yuck, yuck. Goodbye TV. Good riddance.

I have not looked back. I am TV free and loving it! If we go to a hotel, I peek at the cooking shows on the Food Network (the big stars all got REALLY BIG in the past four years, Tyler Florence, you were such a cutie, what happened? And the Barefoot Contessa - Yikes! Maybe get some walking shoes?) If we go somewhere and a TV is on, it is a distraction and I find it so annoying. I can't believe this is the same person who used to define her day in "half past Rachel Ray" and "a quarter to Brian Williams" increments. Once I survived the Olympics in China coverage free, I knew I was never going back.

My co-workers often have the TV on at work so I must put up with it. It's as if the TV execs think we have the attention span of fleas, and so even the news has little substance. The scrolling information on the bottom screen is distracting. And the shows! Something about a bounty hunter named Dog, his brother, his son, the wife of Dog with hair like a poodle. Tattoos and ugliness are just flowing off the screen. It would be awful to have neighbors like that. Why do they warrant their own television show?

I'm still a news junkie big time, but it comes to us via the Sacramento Bee and Capitol Public Radio. Slow news is good news. I like the breaking stories to percolate before I learn of them; the facts and relevance of it all are better analyzed the next day. If the world comes to an end, I'm sure my family will call and I can run across to Carmen and Jason's place to see it all unfold live with helicopters and earnest looking reporters out braving the elements. But right now, life is good boob tube free.

Five reasons I miss TV
I really love cooking shows.
Many conversations go over my head.
The nights can be very quiet.
I love to watch Doppler when it is green.
I have no idea what a Kardashian is.

Five reasons (of many) I don't miss TV
I have more time to cook healthy food.
More time to read and do crafts.
Our house is nice and quiet and there is no eerie blue flashing color on the walls.
It's easier to keep up with the important news.
I have no idea what a Kardashian is!

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