Monday, April 21, 2008

The End of an Era

Today is a day of mixed emotions for me. After almost 19 years of staying true to something I said, we are now like most every other home in America. We have cable.

Why does this evoke any emotion at all in me, you may wonder? Well, when Bob and I were newlyweds, we decided to get cable to improve our reception in our apartment. We called the local provider and were told that the installer would arrive sometime between 9a-5p on a specific day. I dedicated an ENTIRE DAY to being in my abode. I didn't even go to the basement to do laundry, for fear of missing the cable guy's arrival. After waiting the entire 8 hours, I called to inquire where the installer was. I was told that there was no way that they could get in touch with him in the field to find out where he was in his list of appointments for the day. I challenged this, asking what they'd do if there was an emergency and they needed to communicate with him (this was before the days of cell phones). I was not given a satisfactory answer.

It enraged me that I'd spent an ENTIRE DAY waiting for this guy to come and the company was unapologetic. So, I told them to get ahold of him however they could and tell him not to come to my house, and that as long as I lived in town, I'd NEVER HAVE CABLE. Bob supported this decision and, being the tech wizard he is, figured out how to pull local HD content (that flows freely over the airwaves) into our house for now charge! Back then, we could get the local ABC, CBS, NBC affliates fairly well, and most of the content we found interesting was on our fabulous PBS station.

We tried the same thing when we moved here--you should see the GINORMOUS antenna in our attic (subdivision covenants prohibit them on the roof) that was our attempt to boost our reception capability--but with no success. We're too far from downtown Atlanta to be able to get our TV for free.

So, we continued our pattern of not watching TV by subscription and for the last 18 months we've had no TV at all. This has disturbed some of our family, especially when they've come to visit and they're used to being able to watch the news. We told them that we use the internet to watch the news, when we want to, and have found our lives no less meaningful.

We had no idea who Food Network Chef Alton Brown was, who family and complete strangers tell my dear husband he looks like. Do you see the resemblance? It's much more noticeable when he's wearing his glasses.

But we remained staunchly committed to our decision. We also felt good about this choice because we believe it has helped preserve Michael's childhood because he hasn't been exposed to everything that's out there that's advertised on TV.

But today, all this came to an end. In a impulsive moment last week, Bob ordered the HD-only package from Dish Network to go with his new 58" plasma TV (his civic duty to boost the economy with our yet-to-be-received tax rebate check from the government), and the guys came (at the end of the 5-hour window the company rep gave him)and hooked us up for a 2-year contract. Although he is having a bit of "buyer's remorse," he and Michael are downstairs watching Animal Planet as I type this.

We've told ourselves that we're going to be very diligent to keep from becoming "couch potatoes." I hope we stick to it. I've liked the quiet evenings we've had, reading books, surfing the internet, writing blogs, walking the dogs, talking. At least we've stuck to our other resolution to not have a TV in our bedroom.


Lydia said...

OMG!! I have so much to say. I am stifling because this is not my blog, so this is TOTALLY abbreviated!!

1) My brother stuck a fork in the television when I was 5 during Frosty the Snowman. It broke. I was already in tears from the movie, this did not help. My dad, (we were very uh, not rich) said that was the end of that. So I lived without a TV from 5 to 18 - the year MTV launched. I read so much and did so many things that I'm so grateful for now. However, I will say - TV now (if you're careful to filter out the trash( has so much to offer - animal planet (which I can't watch because of the circle of life!) discover, National Geographic, some of the news channels - has so much education to offer that it can be VERY positive.

But I am practically moved to tears over the dutch post. The cards and your photo are beautiful and exactly what was in my head. Wow. Thank you. Just lovely.

Lydia said...

Oh shoot - I forgot to say HE DOES LOOK JUST LIKE ALTON BROWN!! Who is wonderful, btw - check out the food network - one of the BEST channels!!!

sandra said...

I agree, the food channel is great and there are a lot of educating shows on TV for kids (that we tape on Tivo, so Olivia can watch them over and over and over....)