Sunday, June 1, 2008

One Year with No TV

A year ago today, my family gave up TV. Not voluntarily -- at first -- but we did nonetheless. It was a Friday and I’d just arrived home from work. A brutal thunderstorm was ripping overhead. I ran in, dodging dollop-sized raindrops.

My wife was making dinner in the kitchen and I was playing with the kids in the living room when CRACK!!! The loudest noise I have ever heard enveloped the house. There was a huge flash of light. Everything went dead. We smelled smoke.

Lightening had hit the house – or so we thought. After running outside and verifying that the house was not on fire, we surmised that the bolt must have come down very close to the house. (We later discovered a large hole by our foundation where we imagine it hit the ground. The phone box on the side of the house was blown twenty feet off.)

The surge of electricity did a decent amount of damage: it blew out our two TVs (hence the smoke), the phones, the smoke alarms (hard-wired), the pump on the dishwasher, and the Ethernet port on the computer.

Fast-forward and we learned that our TVs were not repairable. No worries. It was summer and we decided to forego purchasing replacements because we’d be outside a lot. Well summer turned into fall, and fall into winter. Then spring and lo’ and behold, here we are one year later with no TV.

Honestly, it’s been great; and not really that “hard”. We read more, do more creative things with the kids – inside and out. Games, cooking, stuff outside, projects around the house… productivity has shot through the roof! We can’t figure when we had time to even watch TV. The icing on the cake: We’re saving around $100 a month because of no cable and TiVo bills, plus the electricity to run it all.

Now granted, my wife and I will watch some programs online (have to love that streaming media), and the kids will watch a DVD from the library on a portable player from time to time, but for the most part we are tuned out.

What’s this have to do with sustainability? I’m not sure, but I like to think we just consuming less; we’re slowing down a tad and spending more time together; we’re not giving in to the juggernaut of popular media. It has felt good to say to folks, “Sorry, didn’t catch the American Idol finale because we have no TV.”

What helps us keep going is the dropped-jaw look of amazement when we tell people we have no TV. They can’t believe it. Like it’s unfathomable to not be plugged in to the “magic box”.

I love it.


Mary Grady said...

that's great! and I think unplugging from TV has a LOT to do with escaping into a more sustainable mode. congratulations on hitting the One Year mark!

Bob Black said...

I'm curious... are you still without a TV? I think it's pretty great, and am inspired to watch less. We do love our "Lost" though... maybe we'll start with one day a week...