Thursday, 15 July 2010

19. Goodbye Old Friend.

The television set was taken. There was no time for farewells or even, I dare to say, time to wipe off that thin layer of dust off the stand. The woman bustled into the house and, within moments, it was gone.

It was our choice, of course. We'd come to the conclusion that we didn't watch it enough to justify paying a T.V. license. It was within an hour of the decision being made that we put the details onto Freecycle (a webgroup where you can give away old,unwanted items). There was no going back.

In a fit of excitement, we redesigned the living room so that, instead of the furniture being centralised around this one object, it would be open and welcoming to anyone that comes in. It feels more spacious and lighter, somehow. There's no longer a distracting dark-hole of a box in the corner waiting to be turned on and become a major distraction.

 I don't object to television. I'm not one of these people who, like a handful of rogue-vegans, forget the meaning of personal choice. This was just our choice. It is interesting though, how other people have reacted to it. One person looked a bit confused for a while and then changed subject; another exclaimed "what on earth did you do that for?", horrified at the idea of a life without the box.  For a moment, it made me wonder if we would regret the decision. Could we really survive without it?

I was 14 when my parents gave me my own television. It was attached to the wall with a bracket, and I would lie in bed watching movies until the early hours of the morning. Whilst I was at university, in my second year (during the first and third year, I couldn't afford one), television became a friend during the long mornings between lectures. One of my housemates and I would spend hours watching daytime T.V.: Quincy, Doctors, Diagnosis Murder, Murder She Wrote, Columbo. All the classics. We'd spend a fortune on Cable movies. It was that or actually go to the university library and study.

As I've grown older, I've developed a strong dislike of staying indoors for too long. I wanted to be "out there" in the real world, experiencing life in many different ways. I'm just not into watching television anymore.

It was winter that really sealed its fate. Without heating, and stuck in one room for much of the cold days and nights, we went without watching anything except a few DVDs on the laptop.We spent our time reading and studying instead. Much more productive, methinks.

An old CRT unit costs a fortune in electricity, so we'd be saving money as well as time, too. The TV License, although only something like £12 a month, is £12 a month to spend on something else, quality rental-movies perhaps or a trip to the cinema, or part rental of my soon-to-exist allotment. And without the distraction of a television set, the art of conversation is king.

Can we survive without a television set? Of course! (there'll be more on this later, I'm sure).

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