So there I was, one day last week (not Thursday), goofing around. I was on the couch, clicker in hand, surfing, desperately surfing for something to distract me. The TV offered up nothing, and an hour later, I found myself watching commercials. I checked the clock. It was 8:30, and I’d accomplished nothing. Done nothing, cleaned nothing, organized nothing, and most important of all, written nothing.
What a waste.
So I called my friend Amalthia (the one who now lives in Alaska) and I talked to her about this for a bit. The TV was, we agreed, a mind suck, especially with all the commercials. I decided to take the plunge and vowed that I would disconnect myself from cable.
I even called the guy at the cable office on Friday, a nice man by the name of Mark, and he understood what I was going through. But here, he said, let me offer you a deal.
Here it comes, I thought.
But it wasn’t too bad. Here was the deal. For $15 a month I could get Basic Cable, which would come directly from the wall to my TV. This would provide me with local channels only, but seeing as that included the two channels I regularly watch “Supernatural” and “Ghost Whisperer” on, I was good with that. What puzzled me was that the last time I wanted to downgrade, they never mentioned this particular option, so for the last two years, I’ve been paying $55 for the “Basic Starter Package,” which contains over a hundred channels (though not the one that has the “Dog Whisperer” on it, sadly), and STILL nothing was on. I guess the cable company wanted to let me down slowly.
Then, Mark offers me a six-month special of 8 mg download speed for my computer at $32.95 a month. I took it. I’m not stupid. (After six months it goes up.)
Because now I’m paying 15 plus 32.95, which is, um, 47.95, which is what I’m paying for computer/internet service now. And in six months, when they up the price of the speed, I can just cut off the cable altogether.
On Saturday, I did chores, like I do, with the music going full blast, the scrub bucket out, and me singing along with my tunes. I was done by about 11 and the cable office was to close at 1 p.m. I looked at the clock, having been thinking all morning that there was NO way I was going to be able to finish and make it there in time and that the WHOLE plan was going to have to wait till, um, next weekend. Or forever.
Truth is, I just didn’t want to do it. I was hooked, addicted, attached to the teat, and I didn’t want to let go! But I took a deep breath and unhooked everything like Mark told me, and raced down to the cable office expecting to find (as I usually did) a line of angry people protesting their bills. Or, at the very least, a long line. I found neither. It was just me and three lovely ladies behind the counter. They were more than happy to help me, didn’t mind that the box I was returning was covered with dust, and promised me that my bill would be pro-rated and that my lower rate would start right away.
I went to the grocery store and then to home. Dinner was a lovely meal, but I kept thinking, what’s on, what’s on? And had the feeling that I needed to hurry for some reason. So when I went downstairs, I couldn’t help but check. Yep, I still had 100 channels and then some, so I sat down, for no reason at all, and began to surf. Nothing, nothing, nothing. There was nothing on. Really and truly. I turned off the TV and went to my computer, thinking of the 8 mg download speed that was now (or soon to be) mine.
Except my computer is seven years old, and some kind tech guy loaded XP on it, except the computer wasn’t designed for that. It’s always run a little clunky, and now, it’s like a snail. I open a web browser and honest to god, I sit there for a whole minute, sometimes more, waiting for it to draw a page that surely, surely it’s cached long ere this.
It’s not that I do much with it. Mostly I write, and download cool stuff, but what I use it for is to look stuff up. When I’m writing, and I have an idea, I want to look it up, like, yesterday. Trouble is, for the past year, I’ll have something I need to know, open the browser, and then have to sit there while the thing chugs and churns, and all the while my brilliant ideas are getting away from me! So I need a new computer. That’s next weekend.
As for Sunday, I slept in, made myself some tea (Irish Breakfast is my favorite), and then sat down at the computer to write up this week’s review for Supernatural. Long about noon, I got stuck on one part of the review (as in, how to describe the sex scene without coming across as totally pornographic), and sat down on the couch, grabbed up the little clicker that was just for the TV, and turned it on. Scrolled, and within short order discovered that, yep, I only had local channels and guess what? There was NOTHING on! At least as I surfed, I wasn’t wasting my time going through 100 plus channels, I only had 10 or so. Mostly football, so I wasn’t missing a thing. Oddly, I still have the sci-fi channel, so well done, me!
I think it will take me some time to get used to the whole TV-less living. On the one hand, I will have no mind candy to disctact me. On the other hand, I do not have some metal box dictating my daily schedule. I don’t have to work around what’s on TV because nothing is. Ever. Except Thursdays at 9 pm (Supernatural) and Fridays at 7 pm (Ghost Whisperer).
All I can say is thank God for Netflix. (Which I decided after all to keep, since they’ve got this nifty new “instant” watch feature, with lots of things from my orignal queue!)
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