The title of this post is “Why I’ve given up television for 31 days”. I’m hoping now you can answer that question for me because I have NO idea why I thought this was a good idea. I really wish I was more of a drinker because I could blame this sort of thing on being drunk.
On August 1st I put all of my television converters in a drawer and walked away from my very best friends in the world. Mindy and Jon and Josh and Francis. Mindy you may know from The Mindy Project, Jon hosted a little show called The Daily Show and Josh is my very newest best friend from a show I’m going to tell you about next month. And Francis. I didn’t really walk away from Francis from House of Cards because I’m all caught up on his life but I still feel like I’ve left him behind. Abandoned from my life.
I plan to be TV free for the entire month of August. Some of the reasons behind this poorly thought out idea are coming back to me, but they don’t seem nearly as good as the idea of hanging out with Mindy again.
I didn’t think I watched that much television and I guess I really don’t. But I seem to have it turned on a hell of a lot. I always turn the news on at noon in my office. Then that leads into a Canadian talk show called The Social which I really like but would never turn on specifically to watch. But since the television is already on from the news, I leave it on. Then comes Dr. Oz, who I don’t particularly like and then Dr. Phil who I don’t particularly like even more. Then there’s a bunch of more shows, until at 6:00 the news is on again and I pay attention. Sometimes I think to turn the television off during the day and sometimes I just leave it on so I can pretend there’s some action going on around here with all the background noise it provides. It’s like I’m working in a high pressure, bustling office where movers and shakers plan cocktails after work and complain about the waxed floors making their high heels slip.
After the news comes an entertainment show I’m not in love with, which is followed by The Big Bang Theory which I love and then a bunch of shows I don’t care about. Yet, the television is on.
I generally sit down to relax and watch television around 9 o’clock at night once it gets too dark outside for me to do anything out there other than dig up the neighbour’s hostas. Yet by that point the television has probably been on for 9 hours in the house. I may not be sitting on the couch paying attention to it but it’s on and it definitely distracts me when I’m working.
So my first plan was to just not turn the television on until 9 o’clock at night. That would solve everything. Except it wouldn’t. I wanted to real break from television. Except really I didn’t want that. But I needed it. There are podcasts and puzzles and albums I always say I’m going to get to but I never do because if given the choice, I always choose to spend my evenings with my best friends. Mindy’s so funny. We have a great time together.
I started thinking about this whole television thing at the end of July and decided it was now or never. August is the perfect month for turning off the television. There’s plenty of stuff to keep me busy outside, it’s the last month of summer and when I return to television it’ll be September when shows start returning. Yes. I planned my television hiatus around television.
It is at this point that I tell everyone out there who is thinking “Geez. What a loser. I don’t even own a television and I don’t miss it at all.” to shut up. I LIKE TELEVISION. In fact I love it. Which is why I had to break up with it.
Ask my friend Jamieson. He’ll tell you. I’m constantly on the search for my new binge. He’s great for recommending things and on more than one evening I’ve texted him in a fit saying I’ve finished the latest season of whatever and he had to recommend something immediately before I did something desperate like watch Two and a Half Men.
Here is how my social experiment has gone so far.
Day 1. Here we go. A new day has begun. A televisionless era where I can rest and read and do all manner of relaxing things that don’t involve TV. By 10 p.m. I had cleaned my baseboards, organized my car trunk (including vacuuming it), made a batch of chicken broth, cleaned the kitchen top to bottom, washed my windows and developed the curious habit of singing television theme songs to anyone I encountered in my day. Which was particularly strange when the grocery store cashier asked me if was paying cash or debit.
Day 2. Work until 8 o’clock at night then sit on the couch to enjoy my new book. 8:05 fall asleep on the couch while a cat farts on my head.
Day 3. Still extremely tired without my daily television stimulation. Consider writing a 22 minute play and forcing my neighbours to act it out for me.
Day 4. Clean, sweep, organize and primp my front porch until 10:30 at night. Sit on the couch to enjoy my new book. Fall asleep immediately. Cat farts on my neck.
Day 5. Make it to my nephew’s baseball game to put in time that doesn’t involve me working. Liked it. Went again the next night.
Day 6. Listen to This American Life podcasts. Realize I love them in a way I couldn’t when television was always on the back of my mind.
Day 7. Spent the whole night working on a new pop up for my site which I’ve wanted to do for ages but never got around to. Again. Working.
Day 8. Finally managed to clean my basement enough that I can screen print some Art of Doing Stuff tea towels. So that’d be …. more work. No relaxing. Just work. Although my work relaxes me so I’m getting confused about relaxing really is. Or maybe I’m one of the few people who loses brain cells by NOT watching television. Either way I’m feeling very unwell.
Day 9. Help elderly neighbour cross the street. Deliver food to the food bank. Birds sing, rainbows bend and kittens in baskets appear on everyone’s doorstep. All is right with the world and it’s all because I gave up television for a month.
I’m now on Day 21 of my television hiatus and I hate it but I’m committed to doing it and it really has been a good thing. So to Bikram Yoga niece who proclaimed “Why?! That’s STUPID! You’ll never be able to do it.”, when I told her about my plan, I have this to say. You’re right. And it is. But I will do it.
Because I have the kind of relentless commitment normally only seen in high performance athletes. Or someone who has binge watched all 3 seasons of a specialty channel produced drama in one single Sunday.