Sunday, August 21, 2005

Six months ago, Amelia Hill turned off her telly - for good.

Well whoop de doo!

I watched quite a bit of tv as a kid, but I was also big on playing (outside and inside) and, eventually, reading. I reckon I was a fairly run-of-the-mill working/middle class American boy growing up in the 70s and 80s in terms of total time watched. Still, as I think back I recall that we had one television from my early childhood until the mid 80s (the same one), no vcr until the mid 80s, and no cable until the mid 80s. Never a big screen (indeed, never much more than a medium screen), never satellite. Heck, I've only seen a little HBO in my time.

College pulled me further from the mainstream. Carlton brought a tv into the dorm, so we had one. I suspect we watched it a good bit, but I also know that I was often out running around or (perish the thought) doing schoolwork. This was the situation from the end of summer in 1990 to the start of summer, 1991 (and again from the fall of 91 to the start of summer, 92). In the summer of 91 I worked, so that would have limited me, and I had a girlfriend. On balance, then, I probably didn't watch all that much tv.

In the summer of 92 I moved into a house with Scott and a few other folks. There was a tv in the house, but I can't remember if we had cable at all. I know that for at least part of the time we only had NBC and something else. Then, in the late summer of 93 I left for an exchange program in Germany. I had access to a tv in the dorm common room, but may have only watched it once or twice. So, count that time until February of 94 as essentially tvless.

In the spring of 94 I moved back in with Scott (different house). We again had tv, but I don't think we had cable. In the fall of 94 I was in an apartment by myself. No tv. Some time right before Christmas, I think, I got tired of having no tv and went and charged one and a vcr. So I had tv and cable and a vcr. Until the summer of 95, when I was abroad again. Then, from the fall of 95 to the summer of 96 I was in a lil house with a tv and cable and a vcr. Then, in the fall of 96 I moved to Germany. During the first year I lived in a dorm room and had a tv and cable. Then I moved in with Birgit in late 97 and we had a tv but only two channels.

In the fall of 1998 I returned to the US. For the first several months in my apartment I had one channel (PBS) and a vcr. Then I discovered that I had free cable. That was fine for a few months and then they cut it. In the summer of 1999 I stayed with my folks (cable, tv, and vcr), and in the summer of 2000 I was in Germany with Birgit (tv, two channels). Fall of 2000 brought a different apartment plus cable (to go with my vcr and tv). Then, in the summer of 2001, my agents moved me into a different house (that rocked) while I again visited Birgit.

In the new house, from the fall of 2001 to the summer of 2002, we had cable, THREE tvs, TWO vcrs, and (near the end of my time) a dvd player. Pretty sweet. This period was the peak of my tv life, I think.

Fall of 2002 saw me in Mexico. We had nothing but regular Mexican stations, and so language barriers hindered me. I did watch soccer and the news and, sometimes, other things. We also had a vcr and rented lots of movies.

Fall of 2004 brought me back to Germany. Tv. We had cable for a few months but then the cable company figured out that we shouldn't. So. Now we have two channels. I watch the news, soccer, and a crime drama called "Tatort", if I watch at all.

[In all of the above cases, by "tv" read small for me (around the size of a decent laptop screen) and medium for my parents. When I lived with Sarah and Karen we also had medium. If you go to the trouble of finding gaps in the time above, just assume I was at my parents' house.]

I guess what I'm saying is that I have never found tv to be a big part of my life. Certain shows have interested me a great deal (Cubs baseball, Trek, ER, XFiles, soccer, and a few others), but otherwise its just a thing. Is it really that big a deal for other folks? I'm serious. I don't come from a tv family (although my mom hits it pretty hard lately), haven't had tv roomates (well, maybe half have been), and know several singles and pairs who have no tv at all. Surely I'm not in another world.



At 8:30 PM, Blogger shelley said...

Dude! Lost.

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

We had TV in the 2nd and 13th ave houses, but you're correct: no cable. But then, we didn't really need it. We could get most of the major networks just fine. I wanted to remind you, however, of the amount of TV we watched at other people's houses.

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Greg said...

As to Lost: yes, y'all did get me hooked on that. But the way I watch it is more like renting a video than watching tv, I think (no flipping channels, no hanging around after its over, no planning your evening around it).

As to going to other people's houses to watch tv: who? Valerie? I remember that one time when I wrestled with the dog, but I don't think of it is a tv night. I guess I did some of that, though.

But I hope you take my point. It was intended to be that, while I have watched tv in the past and will in the future, I wouldn't have much trouble being unable too, whereas some folks seem to.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Carlton said...

You may or may not recall that my mother won that TV in a raffle.

I find myself watching entirely too much TV these days, but that's really OK. [glassy stare]

I'm going to continue watching Lost, but I'm not expecting too much. I fully expect it to fall apart around the middle of next season.


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