I don't watch tv



If you ever begin with "Did you see that commercial...?" I'm going to have to stop you right there.  No.  I haven't.

While I do occasionally see commercials, they're usually on YouTube and therefore are as likely to be from Europe and the mid-'90s as they are something that aired through your local cable provider last week.

Unless you count brief stays in hotels or in the hospital, I haven't had cable in seven or eight years now.  I planned to transfer my service years ago when I was selling my house at the time, but I just went ahead and canceled it.  I wasn't sure where I was moving to, and I just didn't want to deal with one more complication during that complicated point in my life.

Besides, I was in grad school.  Part of my tuition entitled me to the university's library.  I could rent three videos every time I went in, which was nearly every day, what with the library being between my office and the lot where I usually parked.

And then there was also the public library.  They were getting HBO shows on tape and then on dvd as well as that format took over.  Even when I had cable, I never paid for the premium channels (well, we stole it for a few months one time before they noticed), and now I was getting the exclusive bits whenever I wanted, albeit a season or two behind the subscribers.

But I'd already gotten de-synchronized from tv by that point anyway.  I can't remember the last time I'd planned my schedule to be sitting in front of the tv to watch something specific.  Maybe in college?  Something where friends gathered in the dorm lobby?  Oh, except for the Academy Awards.  I still do that, of course, seeing as how I'm a gay man in every way except sexual orientation and a gym membership.  I used to tape the Oscars and watch them late that night so I could skip the commercials and those always-lame Best Song nomination performances.

Back when I had still cable, I was in the habit of using two vcrs: One downstairs to tape everything and one upstairs to watch while I played on the internet.  This was in the dial-up days.  There were lots of long pauses while I waited for the modem handshake or a page to load.  I'd watch what I had taped while I was waiting.  When I was online, I downloaded tv schedules and marked off what I wanted to tape.  It was a circular process at times.  I got good at watching things in FFwd.  I never watched reruns.  After all, there was something else on the tape to get to next.

After cable, I did the Netflix thing for a couple years.  That was great for filling in the gaps in the library's collection or for obscure movies that you just couldn't find anywhere else.  I'd use the time-sliding dvd software to turn on the subtitles and watch everything in 1.5x at a minimum so I could return the movies the next day and get more soon after.  But then Bit Torrent came along and supplemented everything I wasn't watching between what I was getting from the library or borrowing from friends.  There wasn't any point to doing Netflix even.  I honestly couldn't keep up with the stream of cinema.

We had DSL, but I recently switched over to cable internet out of an intense hated of AT&T (story for another time).  They were really confused that I wanted the internet and not cable.  It wasn't even a hard sell tactic.  This happens every time I talk to them, in fact.  I've had the internet fail a couple times (once it was the modem; another time due to weather), and when I call the support number, they ask if the tv is working.  I tell them I don't have cable tv.  They're confused by this fact.  There's a mental Ctrl+Alt+Del before the conversation can resume.

For xmas, Dani's parents bought us a big flatscreen tv.  (Don't ask for details; I don't know.)  I told her she should take it back.  We watch everything on computer.  The dvd software is much more flexible than the dvd player we own.  No, we'd use the new tv, she said.  You ought to know where I'm going by now because I'm always right: We never use it.  Okay, we have a few times like for Stan's ultrasound which was recorded on videotape.  The only other times I even touched the tv since xmas were when I went through a box of videotapes I found on the curb that someone in my neighborhood had thrown out.  It was old tv shows like "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "V" that were already reruns when they were taped.

In hindsight, it's appropriate that those things were clustered together: A tv (no matter how ostensibly "modern"), a vcr, and a bunch of forgotten tv shows.  To me, a tv is as ancient and archaic a device as a vcr.  Sure, I see how it could be useful.  I also understand that cable with a dvr make for a great little threesome.  But I'm happier with the internet and my unsynchronized life.  I still get to see the same things as everyone else.  Except the commercials.  And why would I complain about that?


Copyright 2009 Alexplorer.
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