If Chris, whose About page indicates he lives in the DC area, is getting “odd reactions” to his decision to rid himself of his TV, you can imagine how people react when I inform them that I’m living in rural Maine without television. A couple of the Bostonites at last week’s Beacon Hill gathering found the prospect of a week without it – let alone a month – horrifying.
But a month it has indeed been since I arrived here in Maine, and I have yet to connect the DirecTV tuner I brought out with me up to one of the basic TVs we have up here. All that’s required is a $2 coax cable, but it simply hasn’t been a priority for me. The only really compelling reason to have one are Red Sox games, but for the ones I need to watch there’s Pedro O’Hara’s, the Seadog or a half a dozen other places to grab a beer and watch a ballgame. The rest of the time, there’s radio.
What do I do with the time that would otherwise be occupied with the two or three things I watch regularly? A lot of reading, predictably. Anything and everything from the trash scifi novels of my childhood to Pulitzer worthy and occasionally winning material. I’ve even started skimming some of the course work from MIT’s Sloan School that’s available via OpenCourseWare (very slow going). There’s also boating, fishing, writing, and a host of other pursuits.
The irony is that of the crowd that would sympathize with my “plight” – the crushing burden of a slower paced rural existence, presumably – there’s not a one that hasn’t complained in the next breath of being “too busy” or “not having enough time.” And who could blame them? Certainly not I. It’d be hard to cop a holier-than-thou attitude, after all, when you spend as much time on a laptop as I do. Thoreau, I most certainly am not.
But that said, unplugging periodically is something I think all of us could benefit from.