As you know, my wife and I don’t watch much television. In fact, we have only one small TV and it is only connected to the VCR and DVD player in our bedroom. Our living room has no television, and the chairs are arranged so that when you are sitting in that room you are facing the other people in that room. Even our desk faces away from the wall, so that when you are at the computer you are still pretty much facing everybody. This is an experiment for us, and it has created some interesting results.
We find ourselves sitting in the living room after dinner talking about our day. If we are bored, we go for a walk. If we want to watch a movie, we walk down to the library and check one out. When the kids start to get stir crazy in the house, we go out into the backyard or head for their bedroom to find something to play. The number of hours that our son, at 18 months, has watched television could easily be counted on one hand.
The down side of this is that I am not very well informed. We don’t drive our car much either, so i don’t get as much NPR time these days. Many times the first I hear of a current event is when you blog about it. I usually have to go and look it up on Google to find out what happened. It doesn’t do much for conversation at the office either. My wife finds herself in conversations about who is dancing with the stars and who got kicked off the island, and she has no idea what the show is even about. (Although, “Dancing With The Stars” is easy to decipher.)
On one of our evening walks recently, we realized that we could see the glow from all of the televisions in all of the living rooms on our block. It was just past Dark, that time of the evening that casts a blue light over everything. There was a slight cool breeze, and leaves were drifting down all around us from the canopy of old trees that live on our street. The air was just crisp enough to need a light sweater. It was a great night for a walk. And we were the only people on the street.
I started wondering what our neighborhood might look like if there were no televisions. Or, what if our decks were in the front yard instead of the back, and all of the TV stations stopped broadcasting at 5:00 pm on weeknights.
I have a picture in my head of what life might look like, but then I haven’t seen a sitcom in over two years.