I grew up watching television. My Dad was born in 1918 so television was a BIG deal to him. If he was home it was on. I didn’t watch a whole lot because he got to pick all the shows and I was mainly in charge of being the remote control. But it was definitely a part of my childhood.
In college I rarely watched. We didn’t have cable in our dorms and my college years predate the wonder of electronics that we enjoy now. The lobby was always full of education majors cutting out stuff and watching soaps (no offense intended to my teacher friends…just stating the facts). For me, T.V. was limited to the typical English major study sessions involving British television viewing and the enjoyment of the requisite libations.
As an adult, our family has always had a television in our home and we’ve always enjoy supplemental channels via cable or satellite or whatever. It just seemed to be what you did. Successful middle class folks have T.V. Right?
I have read about and personally know people who don’t have a television for one reason or another. I’ve even occasionally thought about turning it off. It does take time and there is so much to do in life.
But…I like television. Crappy sci-fi, end of the world stuff. Law and Order. Murder, She wrote. A lot of my art can be tedious, mind-numbing labor. Gluing 5000 strips of paper down or cutting out a couple of million letters. It ain’t all glamorous and creative you know. Television can help pass the time.
My husband works weird hours and has trouble sleeping. He falls asleep best when the television is playing.
My son loves sports.
And there is some good educational stuff on that we enjoy as part of our homeschooling curriculum.
Today, we turned it all off. Not because of some lofty inclination to become better people who are seeking to enrich our daily life. We just can’t afford it anymore. Evidently, just when you think there’s nothing else you can live without, you find that there has to be. The day after payday and I had more bills left than check. The electricity seemed important…so bye-bye T.V.
I am sad. It turns out that a lot of my self-image is tied up in financial status. Having lots of channels on my television places me solidly in middle-class America. And that’s where I’ve always lived. I like being middle-class. It’s safe and solid and normal. I feel rather shallow. This shouldn’t be such a big deal. I am who I am despite how much money or possessions I have, right? Surely there’s more to me than that.
Progress on a journey is not easy to measure. It’s more complicated that counting steps forward and steps back. Sometimes you find out that the trail you are on isn’t the one you thought it was or the one you should be traveling at all. Sometimes you realize that you’re carrying more baggage than you need and it’s getting in the way of the view. So you set it aside and start off again.
Feeling somehow less, but hoping to discover more.