It will be two years in August since my TV antenna broke.
At least, I think it will be. I turned the TV on one day and couldn’t get a channel. I didn’t worry about it, I just turned it off again and did something else.
I tried it a few more times, thinking ‘I should get that looked at’. Then it was eight months later and I still hadn’t.
That’s right, no TV for eight months. And I have kids.
Apart from the occasional request to watch ‘Funniest Home Videos’ on a Saturday night, the kids didn’t seem to notice the lack of a working TV. They were suitably entertained by Minecraft or Lego Indiana Jones on the Xbox, or their collection of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter DVDs. I have never allowed TV before school, so they didn’t miss it.
So at that point I felt like I had to make a decision. I had to either get the antenna fixed or consciously become a crazy lady with no TV. I chose the latter.
Even when my sister stayed here for three months in the middle of winter while recovering from a serious car accident I did not give in and have the antenna fixed. She had to make do with the other entertainment options available.
Now, I do have a couple of shows that I watch regularly, and a good supply of movies from a friend who turns up with a portable hard-drive. But I don’t watch the news. I don’t watch cooking or singing or dancing or building shows. I don’t buy into the reality TV celebrity gossip because I don’t’ know who any of these ‘celebrities’ even are.
I don’t sit down of an evening, hit a switch, and sit obediently in front of whatever a particular network wants us to watch.
I don’t know who Rhonda and Ketut are. At least, I didn’t until someone explained it to me at a family lunch.
I don’t know what this week’s Happy Meal promo is at McDonalds.
I don’t know what you are referring to when you say ‘He bought a Jeep’.
I never answer the question ‘what are you watching?’ with ‘I don’t know, this was just on’.
A couple of times I have been at someone else’s house and they have had the TV on. Most of the time they aren’t even watching it. It is just on in the background.
But I don’t judge TV watchers. I know they are a very vast majority. It would be a difficult thing to consciously give up, especially in a multi-TV household with several dedicated watchers.
But you know what else? I have not met anyone who thinks I should take up watching TV again.
Thanks to Facebook, I can tailor the news that I receive. I am not at the mercy of Mr Murdoch and Mr Fairfax. I follow feminist, environmental and political news. I listen to TripleJ in the car, so if anything big happens I hear about it on the radio and I can look for more information if I want to. I don’t think famous people having babies or footballers being drunken yobs should really count as ‘news’.
When I gave up TV I gained a whole lot of time in which to do all those things that other people wonder how I find time for. For cooking and making soap and blogging. I took myself off the drip-feed of mainstream media and the values and opinions it wants us to have. I cut off a whole line of office conversation. And I became just a little bit proud of not needing to do something that just about everyone else does.