life with no TV (or TV with no life)

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Bryan is an artist, father, husband, and son (not really in that order). He works for the Department of Vetern's Affairs and writes and administers The Fireside Post with his father, Ohg Rea Tone. His writings have not been published, though they have been printed a lot.

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life with no TV (or TV with no life)

Dad,

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.

Bryan

There Are 3 Responses So Far. »

  1. hi, i can totally relate to your wife as i don’t watch tv myself! when coworkers talk about the latest episode of heroes n lost (r those shows even still on), i am an outsider!

  2. Bryan, I love that picture of what it would be like if the world looked like you described. I, too, don’t watch TV and have people even go so far as to make fun of me for not knowing what “Heroes” is about. We do have a TV for the occasional movie, and have to make sure we’re not watching movies too often. It’s so easy to put in a movie and find yourself lost in another world. It’s more difficult, as a newly married couple, to sit face to face and have conversation. It requires more brain cells. You can’t just “turn off” your brain and watch a screen. But it’s awesome.

    How do you watch less TV?
    1. Don’t pay for cable.
    2. Build a TV hideaway which has cabinet doors or a curtain that hides your TV.
    3. Like Bryan said, arrange the furniture so that the couches face each other.

    Or at least that’s how we do it. :) Play games, take a walk, ride bikes, throw a frisbee, grill out…some more alternatives. Expect withdrawals though. Bryan, I loved living with your family, coming home in the evenings to find conversations, cooking, and community (the 3 C’s, right?)…and never a blaring, mind dulling blue screen. Keep it up.

    Daniel

    PS. So I’d just like to admit that Amanda and I plan to watch Lost season 3 when it comes out on DVD…we’ve never watched a show on TV when it aired, but we do enjoy the show. Sure, Lost isn’t an example of a TV show that’s worth watching (like Discovery, History channel, News, etc), but we’re not yet complete purists in our no TV rule.

  3. For the record – we still watch movies and like to get the TV shows at the library and even catch some of them online. I spend almost as much time online as some people do on their TV, and you could argue that that is simply a lifestyle choice. This isn’t a monastery, though that might be an interesting experiment.

    Oh, and Heroes is about ordinary people with extraordinary powers, and it is a pretty kickin’ show. You should check it out sometime when you are sick of talking to your wife. Kidding -(smiles)

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