It has been 11 years since I gave up cable TV. Nowadays that doesn’t mean as much but way back then, in the year 2006, it wasn’t such a common practice. Streaming services either did not exist or were merely in their infancy. Netflix was still some weird company that sent you DVDs in the mail. I didn’t hear about Hulu for another two years. Amazon? They were just a billion-dollar online merchant. Big deal!
So you were left with a few choices: cable TV through one of the many monopolistic and wholly unfriendly cable providers, or satellite service which cut out whenever it rained three counties over. Notice that I only mention these two choices. That is because at the time, the idea of not having cable TV was extremely foreign. I can’t tell you how many times I had this exact conversation with people, only with the names and specifics changed:
Bob: “Did you see the episode of Real American Garbage Men last night?”
Me: “No, I don’t have cable.”
Bob: “Oh, well . . . most of cable is useless anyway. I don’t watch half of the channels.”
Me: “So why do you pay for it?”
Bob: “Well there are some things I watch. I don’t know what I’d do without Fox News.”
By that point you realize there is no reason to move forward with that particular conversation. Plus they start telling you about Real American Garbage Men anyway. I think I’m making up that show title but who knows nowadays.
It was a strange couple of years where I didn’t know what Breaking Bad was. I never saw Shark Week. When Conan O’Brian left NBC, I thought he retired. I had no knowledge of anything besides what my antenna gave me (whenever it actually received channels.) Apparently, the Ohio State Buckeyes even won a National Championship somewhere in there … it wasn’t on ABC so I don’t know.
But life didn’t stop. In fact, I had less excuses to lounge around and do nothing because what was I going to watch? Saturday afternoon infomercials? Golf? Heaven forbid!
Really, it has always been in me to dump certain things in life that otherwise seem like a necessity. With our decision to RV full-time, I am ready to give up Netflix. We’ve had Hulu for all of three months and, well, it’s been a blast but I’m ready to scrap it, too. I don’t need entertainment and quite frankly, I’ve found most movies, recently, to be lacking. I can only think of about 3 movies in the last decade that had me invested in some way without using lightsabers or a guy in a bat suit. It’s not that I’m a curmudgeon – it’s that the movies bore me and replace plot with CGI or A-lister cameos. Not interested.
If we want to see a movie, we’ll just scope out dollar theaters. I can wait the extra four months to watch the Avengers. I’ll probably smuggle my own candy bar in, too. Don’t tell the manager about that.
Giving up cable was the first step, long ago, and I didn’t even know it. I feel like this pull away from the material world has always been residing in me … that I’ve always disliked the distraction that television and movies provide. Life is busy and flashing screens don’t really help. I’d rather sit outside, under the stars, telling jokes than lounge in my living room and watch some guy on a TV screen do the same thing. I’m not saying you’re wrong if you prefer that … it’s just not for me.