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Friday, August 13, 2010

Of Cable and Men

I would love to have 5 minutes alone with whoever invented the television. And I want 10 minutes with whichever man came up with the NFL package.

Once upon a time, I was a television junkie. I had 132 channels with nothing on them that I wanted to watch, as the joke goes. I wish that were true. In reality, there was plenty I wanted to watch. The Travel Channel, the History Channel, PBS, The Discovery Channel, and every other channel that ran syndication of a half dozen sitcoms that I liked. It didn't matter that I had seen this episode 5 times - I was happy to sit and and watch it again. Which meant NOTHING got done around the house. My husband and I would both do this. Sit and stare. Eat our meals in front of the tv. Conversations were reduced to grunting half answers to questions we didn't pay attention to. And we were content. Our lives were full of canned laughter and other peoples problems, and occasionally, we learned something new which justified the addiction.

When we separated, I needed to cut some expenses and Cable was the first thing to go. Oh, I was lonely without my imaginary friends. Would Ross and Rachel get together? Would Jerry be the Master of his Domain? How would I know? And more importantly, how ever would I fill up all of those hours between work and sleep? What if the GlobeTrekker people discover a new vacation spot that I will never get to go to? And, oh dear Lord, what about the weekends? No cartoon network? No Spongebob? I could cry.

Turns out, after the initial couple of nights of silence thundering in my head as I stared at the blank, glossy, black void of my now useless television, I got bored. And then my other senses started to kick back in. I'm not talking sight or hearing. I mean, my sense of purpose. My sense of determination. I regained my creativity and my need to express myself. Suddenly my evenings were spent scrapbooking, visiting with friends, cooking new dishes, playing with my dogs and calling my family on the phone. I filled my evenings with conversations with REAL friends. Turns out real life can be just as dramatic as tv life. I remade my own home instead of watching the Extreme Home Makeover people do it for others. I went to yard sales looking for vintage pieces instead of watching Antiques Roadshow. I developed...wait for it....a life without TELEVISION.

Then, I got a boyfriend. During football season.

Within the first week, I had gone out and bought one of those digital cable converter boxes, since cable went to digital during my hiatus. Gives you a dozen channels, 4 of them PBS, and the main channels - ABC, CBS, NBC. It was enough for him to be able to come over on Sundays and watch the game while I flitted around playing good girlfriend, making him lunch and curling up on the couch and rooting for his teams.

Now it's a year later, the honeymoon is over, and there is no way he is going to survive the winter without cable and the NFL package. With a DVR (what the hell is that?). And, as a side note, my internet is too slow and I pay too much, so he wants to bundle that, too. Fine. After tons of debate, I gave him permission to have a dish installed on my house, under these conditions:

1) I am not paying for it
2) It is not to be attached to my name or credit in any way
3) There is to be no contract for which I would liable should
we go our separate ways.

He agreed to that. Then later he said that if I wasn't going to help pay for it, I couldn't watch it. So I told him if I couldn't watch it, he couldn't use my tv in my house to watch his games.

I win. And I don't even WANT to watch his cable. Give me strength.

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