Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Abandoning My Television

As a student of media, I've struggled with the idea of canceling my cable service for a while. I kind of see it as one more way to stay connected to popular and broadcast culture, but since all the shows I watch are comedic or entertainment (and not educational or news-related) in nature, it's not like television is really teaching me anything. The last time I watched the "real" news on television was election night, and that wasn't even in my home; all the local bars were broadcasting either CNN or MSNBC or Fox, and Kelly's on A and Houston was running all three on their eight different screens. And the last time I watched any sort of televised news before then was strictly for the debates. I'm just not one of those kids who enjoys sitting around watching Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly while yelling and throwing things at the screen, and besides, there's more of a selection on the internet anyway (CBC, BBC, NPR, etc).

I don't follow any sports teams (despite Matt's hearty attempt to get me into the Lakers in my undergrad), and I've recently gotten in the habit of watching "The Office", "30 Rock" and "It's Always Sunny" on Hulu. I occasionally enjoy "The Daily Show" (I'm going to see it in person on Wednesday!) but for the most part I don't have time nor do I make time for live television (we opted out of getting a DVR). I spend most of my days reading or, to use the antiquated phrase, "surfing" the net anyway, and the television in my apartment can be found in the common space in which one of my roommates can inevitably be found reading (the historical studies roommate), writing, cooking, or running lines (the actor roommate). Even on the rare events that I do watch TV, the actor roommate will usually come out of her room and say "Can you turn it just a lit-tle bit lower?" (I've learned hard wood floors definitely mess with spacial accoustics). Plus, without the cable we're paying $40 less a month on our package (about $13 per person).

So today, I've finally decided to kill my television while I'm away for winter break. The cable will remain hooked up until December 25th (since we've already paid through that date), and when I return to New York on January 6th it will be like our cable service never existed. The screen will still remain in the common space with the DVD player hooked up in case anyone wants to watch movies or Netflix-ed TV shows (my historical studies roommate is currently hooked on "Rome" after kicking her nasty "Gossip Girl" habit).

I called RCN around 1:45 this afternoon, and by 2:20 I had been transferred not just once but twice, had heard their horrible on-hold music far too many times, and decided that a half an hour of waiting was just absurd. The tension and anger was quickly mounting in my chest, and I couldn't wait to just unload on whoever finally decided to answer my call. Are you aware that I've been transferred to THREE different departments and have been waiting for OVER a half an hour?! Do you know what I could have done with that time? You realllly don't want people canceling their services, do you?!

As I scripted my verbal assault in my head, I eventually gave up. Growling and stomping into the living room, I hung up the house phone, jammed it into its cradle, and proclaimed in a sing-song voice to my "Rome"-obsessed roommate, "I'll call them again TO-MOR-ROW!"

So much for trying to save some coin...

**NOTE: It must be trash day in the East Village. While strolling up 1st Avenue this evening my friend and I spotted an abandoned TV that looked almost identical to the one pictured above. Looks like I'm not the only person abandoning my television...

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