Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Broke Up With My Television

And we have been seeing each other for many, many years. We go way back. TV has always been a part of my life. When I was a latch key kid back in the 80's I used to come home to Gilligan's Island everyday. Which was the second best part about being a L.K.K. I wore my house key on a piece of string around my neck. Every morning my Mom would warm the key in her hands before carefully dropping it down the front of my t-shirt, that was the best part. On my own I also used to do science experiments, eat lots of saltines and draw hearts around the faces of the boys I liked on our class photo. But I was never really alone, Gilligan was always there..."the Skipper too." Comforting me in the background.

At one point I had my Mom's little, old black and white TV in my bedroom. I used to stay up late and sneak episodes of the Benny Hill show. With the occasional flash of knickers this seemed so naughty. My Mom doesn't watch TV at all now, however I always thought it was so cool that she's seen every episode of Perry Mason, on that old black and white TV. Of course now I have too.

After I moved in with my Dad, in fifth grade, and his comprehensive cable package, I truly fell in love with TV. We had HBO
and Cinamax. I remember when they first started a comedy channel. It was called "HA!" This has since morphed into Comedy Central. But when it began they would have tons of stand up comedy, which I would devour. Even though I was still just a kid and a lot of it was aimed at adults I would sit for hours laughing til I cried.

Even with our fancy cable my Dad still watched PBS religiously. There's even a story about him not wanting to go to the hospital with my Step mom, who was in labor, until Dr. Who had finished. I used to curl up next to my Pops on the couch to help him watch Dr. Who and Saturday night BritComs like "The Young Ones". This began my lifelong obsession Britain. And, in essence, is how I ended up where I am today. I was an anglophile from a young age with more than a passing fondness for a British accent as an adult. I was a goner from the very first second I met Paul.

As an adult I've watched more than my fair share of TV. I can watch just about anything. I like stupid reality shows, old crap movies and I even got drawn into a soap opera in high school. I'd be hard pressed to make a list of my top five shows, as I love so many. I've used TV as a companion in an empty, lonely house. As a window into another culture. As a hangover cure. As a boredom cure. As an excuse to avoid work/friends/school. Even as a teacher when I took a math class that was televised. I love watching television. With that said, here's why we broke up...I'm a mom now. And I have big responsibility to another human.
I was hesitant to write about giving up TV, for fear of being seen as a radical or extremist. I am, however, extremely radical :) I haven't given it up to get on some high horse spouting about the evils of television and commercials. And generally I do follow the mantra of: everything in moderation. However my love of TV makes it hard for me to only watch the good, educational programs. If it's there, and I'm bored or sick, I'll turn it on and flip happily through the channels until I find something good or not too bad to watch. And then I see an advert for something else! Oooo, that looks good! Must watch that. I spose it's a bit like an alcoholic giving up drinking but then living next door to the bar. Too much temptation and the moderation is a distant memory.
I came up with this wacky plan awhile ago and started reading this:

It was just wishful thinking for the first few months. After a long session in front of the tube, with a sore butt and neck I would casually say "We should just get rid of the TV." and Paul would mutter a "Yeah, maybe." But then I would always think to myself: no way can I not watch
any TV, ever! That's just crazy talk! What do you do on rainy days, when you have the flu, when CSI is on??? So I was happy with just the fantasy of no TV, listening to music all day, reading or playing games. But in reality it seemed like an absurd, impractical thing to do.

Then I went to Portland and experienced a lot of TV free days with Chachi, my Mom and sisters. And Chachi started talking and almost walking and becoming this little person who changes, learns and grows bigger everyday. And I thought about missing out on a new word or cute expression. And I finished my "Living Outside The Box" book. Which was jammed full of reasons to be a TV free family and ideas on how to do it. And I made my mind up to stop thinking about it and just give it a try. Whats the worst that could happen? I can't hack it and the TV comes back? So what. At least I tried. But whats the best that could happen? I kick my TV addiction, raise a creative, smart kid and pick up some new hobbies.

So me, the last person in the world that would ever stop watching TV, decided to do just that. But wait, it's not just me in this plan. Before making such a big lifestyle change I needed to get Paul's approval...

Stay tuned for part 2! Same bat time, same bat channel!


Anonymous said...

Instead of watching TV, Paul can join this band:

There was a unanimous decision that he would fit right in!
Miss you guys,

Name: Sherrie said...

Malia~ Ha!! Paul bought me that exact same Stylophone! And I know for a fact he would love to have a theremin.
Miss you too ~Sher