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my television-free life

it’s been several months since kirk and i decided to drop digital cable, and stop watching television. there was some apprehension, and some trepidation (would we miss watching baseball?). it was a financial savings, to be sure — our cable bill went from $120 per month with time warner cable before the move (digital tv + premium channels + dvr + high-speed broadband cable) to $29.95 per month with comcast after the move (much higher-speed broadband cable only).

and the verdict?

don’t miss it a bit.

we thought that no baseball games would be the dealbreaker. turns out that listening to the games on the radio is a much, much better experience. the guys who call the game on wfan radio are brilliant at setting a visual scene through words. in this regard, i feel lucky being a mets fan — the yankees radio announcers on wcbs are boring as all hell, with their vast quantities of dead air. the wfan guys always have something interesting and cogent to say, and even their occasional off-topic wanderings are worth a listen.

so, baseball is fine. what about the news? get it from the paper, and the net.

what about lost? i don’t care who’s on the damn island anymore. if i did, i’d get it from netflix.

and there’s the cheat. if there’s something i really really want to watch, i’ll just get the dvds from netflix. i was a huge deadwood fan, so we watched the entire season over the course of a few days.

i always said the nice thing about having a dvr was that you watched only things you really wanted to watch, rather than having to watch whatever was scheduled. no wasted time, and all. it’s much the same now, only there’s an effort involved to watch something, so it’s even more efficient. i find myself mildly interested in whatever new shows are being flogged in the press, but i’m not driven to watch them. the only one that’s broken through the clutter for me recently was mad men. that’ll probably be something i’ll watch when it comes out on dvd.

so what do i do now that i don’t have tv taking up my time? it’s amazing how busy you can make yourself, when you don’t have the default option of television. since it’s baseball season, we have the games on the radio in the evening. sometimes i lay on the couch and listen, sometimes in bed. sometimes i listen while doing other things, which isn’t really a good option with television. i find projects to do. i cook dinner. i take walks, read books and magazines.

time passes without your help. no need to actively try to passively pass it with something as nonsensical (i now realize) as television.

it’s a drug. don’t believe me? try to do without it for a week. you’ll go through withdrawal. i did. but then, like any addiction, time passes and the weirdness and imagined agonies lessen, then disappear.

nothing wrong with television, mind you.

not much right with it, though, either.