I know we're moving soon (hopefully), but I did a little rearranging in the living room tonight. I piddled and slid some of the seating to a corner that used to flank the TV. Then I scooched the ottoman a little that way and this. When I was done with all that Ma Luffin' Mayun schlepped the TV for me to it's new spot.
The trunk. Of my car. Yep, that's right.
Here's the thing: we have threatened to give our television the ol' heave-ho for probably a cumulative half of our marriage and family-hood. In our nearly fourteen years together under the same roof we've never had cable or satellite. For us it just wasn't an expense we wanted to accommodate, and many times could not justify. But more than that we know ourselves, and we can be sure that our handful of expert gardener friends would far rather harvest useful vegetation than answer an emergency phone call to come pluck our deep-rooted, couch-potato butts from in front of the TV. We like TV. We like it alawt. Our kids do, too. And I'm pretty convinced we could never watch another thing and still be able to use one TV/movie line or reference per hour for the rest of our lives and not run out of them (it is our gift, it is our curse...).
Don't be fooled by the lack of channels. Without them, we watch lots of videos. There's a rotation of movies general viewing audiences (read: all five of us) can watch that cycle through regularly: Willy Wonka, Woody and Buzz, Tinkerbell, Hap Palmer's Baby Songs (which, p.s., contains the song "Growing" with a clown that Little Big Man consistently tells me he wants to punch in the face...yikes). Then there are a few schmaltzy rom-coms that get watched on occasion like You've Got Mail, Last Holiday, Fever Pitch, and 27 Dresses. Of course there are shoot-em-up movies: Tombstone, Minority Report, Reign of Fire, Jason Bourne, and hobbits, elves, men, and dwarves battling for Middle-Earth. There's the handful of musicals like Annie, Meet Me In St. Louis, and Singin' In The Rain. We've got Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery, Jimmy Stewart and Carey Grant. There are episodes with Andy, Rob and Laura, Jim and Pam, the Huxtibles, BillieJo/BobbyJo/BettyJo, Ma and Pa, Jack Bauer, Lucy and Ethel, and soup nazis, man-hands, and ya-da ya-das. Believe me, there's always something to watch.
We like to watch stuff. It makes us laugh or think or not think. It's relaxing. It certainly makes no demands on us and doesn't require much from us. And so we watch. But there's a trade out; while we're soaking up some entertainment our chances for, well, something ELSE are seeping out of us. We laughed at a show, but did we make sure we got a laugh out of our kids by playing or talking? Some movie made us think and captivated the imagination, but did it add any real value? Ninety minutes of “down time”, but no rejuvenation. There's nothing evil or inherently bad about us liking TV or movies. It's okay that we watch. But I think where we're at is a place where finally we say it isn't okay – the life we're missing – while we watch.
I want to read more. I want to write more. I want to listen to the kids make up games and play like they are so inclined to do if given the space. I want to talk and listen in conversation with the people I love. I want to be creative. I want to think thoughts about things that don't come out of a glowing box. I want a different musical score to our days than a movie soundtrack. I want to freely arrange furniture in a new home with no regard to where the TV ought to go.
It's not for everybody, this chucking of the TV. And I got to tell you, it's going to suck around here sometimes because our default settings are going to have to change (read: I'm already missing it and it's been in the trunk for about two hours). But we're ready and I think we're up to it. I know we won't regret the decision when we see all the gains from making the choice. What we would regret so much more than this light and momentary discomfort, however, is realizing we know a plethora of movie lines but haven't got a clue how each other's day was.
And really, how much Beverly Hillbillies can a person watch before their head implodes, anyway?