I’m not going to become one of those people. You know the type. They grab any opportunity to loudly proclaim they don’t watch television. “I haven’t owned a TV in YEARS,” they gush, their words slightly muffled by the fact that they’re fellating themselves. Not going to do that. But I do want to tell you about cutting the cord and killing our cable subscription a month ago. Because I think, much like killing the landline, it’s an inevitable and smart choice for a lot of people.
This decision was remarkably quick and easy. Our platinum level package on Uverse was expensive. We had all the movie channels, which we rarely watched, plus all kinds of on-demand programming. And everything in HD. You know the drill–you sign up at a greatly reduced rate, then six months later the rate is jacked up but you’re stuck in a contract for another six months so you can’t do anything about it and then three years go by and you’re used to paying the bill so it remains a given and almost unnoticed until suddenly you say, “We are wasting our money. Let’s not do that anymore.”
We aren’t totally without ocular entertainment now. We’ve just cut ourselves off from mindless, expensive choices. With our purchase of an Apple TV box ($99), we have access to movies and TV shows on Netflix and Hulu+ ($15/month total) and iTunes. But we have to make a conscious, intentional decision to watch something–there’s no channel surfing that “accidentally” lands on a fart-filled episode of Honey Boo Boo. Mindful television. And we’re watching random things we might never have with cable. Like Swashbuckler, for instance.
It’s a pirate movie made in the mid-70s starring my boyfriend Robert Shaw and a shirtless James Earl Jones. There’s a huge fight scene with a number of deaths–by sword, mostly–but not one drop of blood. People just fell to the ground, like in playtime, and you knew they were dead. So much better than the graphic violence of everything produced today. I mean, do we really need to believe that people are *actually* dying in order to enjoy what we’re watching? It’s all supposed to be make-believe. If someone falls to the ground after being “stabbed,” we get that, in the context of this show, they’re dead. Why do we have to see their head explode and pieces of their skull land on someone’s jacket? That’s just gross. And unnecessary.
I’m down to watching TV a handful of hours a week. And I do it with full attention instead of watching with half an eyeball while the other 1.5 eyes are looking at my computer screen. It’s refreshing to not celebrate or cultivate a short attention span and instead give my entire energy to working whatever part of the brain processes TV. It’s savoring one thing at a time instead of cramming as much stimulation as possible in at once.
Like, my brain has a little more room to stretch its legs and take a load off.