Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year, No Cable

Kris posted this over on his personal blog today... but, I'd thought we should share it here too (hope that's alright Kris!).


It's a brand new year. Exciting, eh?

No, not really.

I may have, at one point in my life, thought that there was real transformational power in the flipping of a calendar. At this point, of course, I was hilariously naive. Now, in my early middle age, I'm horribly cynical and I know that the only opportunity a new year offers me in and of itself is the opportunity to buy a new kitten calendar. Real change, real transformation, takes an act of will. And, maybe a pile of cash.

We had to muster up a good chunk of will to enact one of the bigger changes to the IBIE household in recent memory - canceling cable. Our initial reasoning was sound: cable costs a lot of money, money that can be used for important things like inoculations or chunks of sharp cheddar cheese. Cable presented hours upon hours of programming that we simply didn't watch. It was like having the faucet on constantly and only stopping for a drink once a day. Much of what we had to watch could be caught online and with our TV's "pc" input, we can even watch everything on a bigger screen.

But still, there was much hemming and more than a little hawing. Cable TV has a way of making itself a trusted and familiar part of your household. It's hard to escape the comfort of knowing that a solution to your boredom is just a remote click away. Sure, you can find this stuff online, but you have to find it. You, not some TV god that simply anoints you with the gift of entertainment. That's a tough habit to break.

Ms. IBIE and I had doubts that we could really pull the plug, having the unhealthy fascinations with Adult Swim and E! that we do. We seemed to dare each other to call the cable company:

Me: "So, you still wanna cancel cable?"

Ms. IBIE: "Sure. You wanna call the cable company?"

Me: "Sure. You wanna find the phone number?"

Ms. IBIE: "Sure. You wanna grab the phone book?"

Me: "Sure. You wanna look up the number once I find the phone book?"

Ms. IBIE: "Sure. You wanna double check that we have the right number by finding it online?"

Me: "Sure. You wanna grab the laptop?"

Ms. IBIE: "Sure. Where's the laptop?"

It would just go back and forth like this until one of us said we were busy and would have to do it tomorrow.

But, eventually, we did it. And, we found a support network of cable naysayers on Facebook that backed us up and told us that we would, indeed, survive without cable. They were right. There have been a few moments when, bored or just out of ideas of things to do, I have reached for the TV remote and almost flipped it on. But then I remember. And, as I do, I feel a little proud that we've made this step. We have to work a little harder to entertain ourselves now and I think the results have been positive so far. For instance, in lieu of our usual Sunday night loaf-a-thon watching "Family Guy," our loaf-a-thon was spent streaming a PBS documentary. That's what the hospitality industry calls an upgrade.

Did this have anything to do with a new year? Maybe, but more than likely it was a matter of pragmatics. Cable is becoming an irrelevant source of entertainment, overpriced and barely responsive to the desires of its audience as the internet becomes a more viable option. And, frankly, I had it about up to here with the TV Guide Channel.

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