Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cutting the Cord

"Where are they?"
Like many people, my husband and I are looking for ways to cut back on expenses.  One of the luxuries we’ve been examining is the cable bill.  What started out as a “reasonable” price has ballooned into ludicrous amounts, inching its way up like a kudzu vine.  So, when my husband asked what I thought about it, I cried out, “Cut it!”

He looked at me, frowned, blinked a few times and shook his head.  Yes, I am the very same woman who upon waking and heading downstairs, beelines to the t.v., turning it on even before starting the coffee.  The same woman who turns on the t.v. upon entering an empty room. The same woman who sets the sleep timer on the t.v. so that it’s the last sound she hears.

And now, without a moment’s hesitation, I’ve told my husband to cut it.

It’s like a junkie telling their supplier they’re done.

O.k., not quite.  I didn’t tell him to toss the t.v., I just said to get rid of cable.  But really, what is there on “regular” t.v.?

On the other hand, what is there on cable?

Oddly, there aren’t many shows that I feel compelled to watch.  I like Grimm, but I’m not shattered if I miss an episode.  The shows in which I do have any sort of “dedicated interest” tend to be “short term” – shows that run maybe a dozen weeks, and then finish.  Project Runway and Downton Abbey were my recent shows.  I used to watch Top Chef and Dancing with the Stars, but I didn’t like the drama on Top Chef and Kate Goslin bores me so I quit both shows.

Then, what the heck am I watching all those many hours that the television is on?  Frankly, I haven’t the faintest idea.  Most of the time it’s just on for noise.  Granted, in the morning it’s the news.  Not serious news.  I don’t want to be smacked in the face with a sledgehammer first thing in the morning.  There’s something lulling about hearing, “Lindsey Lohan blah, blah, blah and in other news, yet another suicide bomber has destroyed a school that also served as a home for invalids, nursery, and animal shelter, killing dozens of women, children, disabled people, infants, elderly, and several kittens and puppies. Oh, how sad.  But now, pastel jeans.  Are they the new black?”   If there’s something that’s caught my interest, I’ll either look for more information online or I’ll turn on NPR.

Even when I actually want to watch t.v., I spend more time looking for something to watch than actually watching anything.  Ninety percent of the time, I end up watching one of the Law and Order shows, just because it’s the lesser of the many evils and that Dick Wolf is a clever monkey with all his ridiculous twist and turns of plot. I used to resort to HGTV until it became the House Hunters channel.  The Food Network is turning into the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives channel, which isn’t awful, but does make me hungry for something drippy and greasy.  Whether I’m channel surfing 30 channels or 200 channels, it doesn’t make much difference, even if I throw in free On Demand.

In addition, what I’ve discovered - and indeed I know I’m quite late to this “discovery” - is that pretty much any show I want to watch is usually available online.  To my great horror, I watched the entire first two seasons of the BBC version of Being Human in two sittings.  Yes, I know.  What a time suck – especially considering how this season started. I also watched 2 full seasons of the BBC version of Shameless (quite good, and not just because that little biscuit James McAvoy is in it), both seasons of Downton Abbey (which I started watching on t.v., but then grew impatient), missed episodes of Dancing with the Stars (when I was still watching it), and movies and documentaries galore.  Whew.

There’s also our dvd players which can stream YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, and Netflix, although I really can’t go back to Netflix after the snarky letter I wrote when they doubled their prices even after they’d lost streaming rights to Sony productions.   And there’s pay-per-view, of course.

So, my enthusiastic call for dumping cable really isn’t that big of a sacrifice.  We’ll be reduced to channels 1-30, meaning I can still watch the “news” and public television, but will have to watch everything else online, which is fine because the t.v. is behind me when I work at the computer and I’m getting neck and shoulder pains from twisting.

This just in:  it looks like our cable has been granted a reprieve.  With all the trading and bargaining for internet access, phone lines, security systems, and cable television, my husband has negotiated a price that will allow us to keep channels one to 100.  HGTV, TNT, Food Network, USA and History Channel live.

I have to say I’m a little disappointed.  I was looking forward to bragging about a life without cable.  Sure, I can choose not to watch t.v., but now I figure if we’re paying for it, I should watch it. 
Hm.  E! channel. Ice Loves Coco.  Surprisingly, not as awful as one might imagine ….

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