When I eliminated my television back in 2009, I had no intention of acquiring
another. I was perfectly content using my computer to stream videos or watch
DVDs, so I thought I would have no reason to bother.
Katie disagreed. As everyone knows, my beloved daughter is not a minimalist.
She works hard and shops with the same enthusiasm. I do not judge my daughter
for this; she has the right to earn and spend her money as she pleases.
So when Katie came home one afternoon with a television in her arms, I shrugged
and went on with my life. She wanted to watch movies and play games in her room
and had decided to do just that.
I didn’t think about that television much. I watched it with her once a year,
the day after Christmas, when we have a tradition of pigging out on clearance
candy and watching Forrest Gump.
But then one evening after helping a friend move she came home with yet another
television. Her friend had an extra that was larger than Katie’s and had gifted it
to my daughter as a ‘thank you.’ Katie was delighted as she showed it to me; she could
watch her videos on a larger screen thanks to the generosity of her friend.
My only question was what she intended to do with her old one.
Katie didn’t even give me the opportunity to ask that question. “As soon as I
hook it up I’ll give my little one to you,” she announced. “It’s about time you
joined the modern age and watched TV like normal folks!”
That was how I found myself the proud owner of not only a small television but a Roku as well. She helped me hook it up and handed me the remotes with a smile.
I didn’t know how to work the remotes. The last television I owned didn’t have one. What the hell was I going to do with a television when I didn’t even know how to work it? I kept my thoughts to myself, thanked her profusely, and pretended to be happy with the gift.
That television sat in my room for a good six months untouched. I didn’t know
how to work it, wasn’t motivated to try, yet I couldn’t bring myself to part
with it because my daughter had loved me enough to give it to me. Eventually I
realized that the situation was bordering on the ridiculous so I sat my butt
down and figured it out.
Televisions have changed immensely since I last bothered with one many years
ago. They do things now that I find amazing. I started out watching YouTube
videos on the thing and eventually added one of those gadgets that play ancient
video games and in time complemented it with a cheap DVD player.
It would save wear and tear on my computers, I reasoned.
As I developed the habit of watching a movie before bed, I realized that I could
reduce my reliance on Facebook and the Internet if I had a way to capture the
open air broadcasts from local news stations. I like to keep up with local news
but I have a weakness for reading the comments. There was a problem with this,
however. In order to capture the signals I needed to purchase another device
and I was too cheap to spend the money.
That changed last night. While I was out to purchase some groceries, I stumbled
upon a little antenna for $5. After asking the workers a few questions, I
decided to give it a try.
It took several attempts but I managed to stick it to a window to gain
reception. I fiddled with the remote, pressing random buttons until I finally
found the proper menu and I managed to pick up a few channels.
For the first time in over a decade I watched the eleven o’clock news without
losing myself in the comments section.
I feel as if I have stepped into an alternate reality. I can press a button and
watch the news when it comes on instead of waiting for the highlights to go
online. I don’t have to worry about my Internet going out when bad weather
arrives. That’s an issue in my tiny area.
Part of me feels guilty for buying another gadget. Part of me feels odd because
I am no longer part of the Minimalist Crowd that looks at televisions with
disdain. But if I am going to allow others to live life on their terms, then
that gives me the right to live on mine. The television was free, the antenna
was $5, and now I can rest easy during storms. I can also use the device to play
music when I slip a CD or MP3 DVD into the player I acquired, which means that I
can shut my computer off entirely sometimes. I can even play games from my
childhood, which I have discovered is a wonderful way to clear my head.
This little adventure has made me realize that change can be a very positive thing.
It has made me realize that I need to abandon my comfort zone more often.
It has also made me realize that if I embrace the older technology that I
abandoned in the past that I can reduce my reliance upon the
Internet. The world will not end if Annie cannot connect. To be honest, if I
could teach myself to check email, respond to comments, and go offline after
I upload my daily blog post, I would probably be better off.
I would definitely have more time.
If you happen to have a television (or manage to acquire one for cheap or free), you may want to consider buying one of those little devices that allow you to pick up stations for free. You would not only eliminate your cable expense, you may be able to drop some of those online movie subscriptions you pay for. They have a range of them, designed to pick up channels of varying distances from your home, so take care not to purchase until you find one that is powerful enough for your needs. The $5 one I purchased covers a 25-mile radius – just enough to watch the news, which is all I wanted. This is what the box looked like:
And always remember – minimalism is about living life on your terms, not the
terms that some “expert” living out of a thousand-dollar laptop says
you should live. You have the right to keep anything in your life that you find
useful or gives you pleasure. If those experts want to judge, send them to me. I
will be happy to show them what spot on my anatomy they can kiss.
So keep the old record player if you use it. Watch your DVDs. Play your cassettes and your VHS tapes. Wear the clothes you have in your closet. It is far better for the world if we use the things we already have anyway.
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It sat front and center of every living room. Residents and visitors alike would stare at the glowing screen, chatting during commercial break.
Then came the video games. Names like Atari and Commodore. Devices attached to our precious televisions gave us something to do while we were glued to our televisions. We could direct glowy bits against glowy bits to earn points on a screen.
Now it’s the cellphone; a computer, video game machine, and television rolled up in a device so small it fits in your pocket.
I’d never really thought about any of the devices much; I’d grown up with a television so I wrote it off as the changing trends of time.
As I sat in my break room at work I watched my coworkers all glued to their devices.
I went out to eat with my friends, not to talk, but to watch them stare at their screens as they ignored me. I looked around to discover that I was the only adult aside from the servers not staring at a screen–until I saw a server sneak a peek at her phone between rounds.
“Do you have a charger?” a recent guest to my home asked as soon as she entered.
She sat at the power outlet, mumbling at me as she swiped at whatever she was doing.
At first I was annoyed by the trend. Why bother hanging out with someone if all you’re going to do is ignore them? What’s the point in having real-world friends if you spend your time staring at a screen during visits?
Yesterday ended up being an uneventful day as we lazed
around the house and watched movies online. My daughter enjoys Webkins
and Funbrain, while I enjoy seeing if I can locate and watch new releases
good one online yesterday, though at times I end up watching whatever when my
searches don’t pan out, but sometimes I get lucky. To watch a current
movie we would have to drive almost thirty miles one way and close to forty
miles the other way. So add gas, wear and tear on the car, plus the
expense of tickets and treats, and movies are priced right out of range of this
frugal soul unless I find something interesting online.
And no, we have no cable here. I could get cable, but between the garbage they show and the commercials that leave my daughter drooling, it simply is not worth paying money for. I refuse to spend money on a medium so hell-bent for me to spend even more money.
I guess I
should lump certain web sites on there, with their clicky ads, but you can
choose to click or no, and that is a huge difference in my opinion. I
don’t mind their being available for me to choose to pay attention to their
advertising or not, but resent being forced to watch something when I’m already
paying for the priveledge by subscribing to a service.
doesn’t bother me, cause I know those ads are how they are able to put the
content online. Pandora and their occasional ads don’t bother me either
for the same reason.
daughter is in the stage where she thinks she can question every decision that
I make, so this morning I had to get firm with her. Hate it, but such is
life. I don’t answer to anyone in this world, I am not going to answer to
a spoiled ten year old!
is hyper this morning! She is a chihuahua crossed with what we guess to
be Jack Russell, and while she is adorable to us, she really dislikes
strangers! Guess I ended up with a dog as antisocial as I am, but I love
her. Rescued her from the local shelter. They said she had been
there around a month or so, and she wouldn’t have much to do with anyone
because of lacl of socialization. However, when we sat down on the floor
she crawled right up in my daughter’s lap, and so I think it was more an issue
that she hadn’t found anyone she wanted to socialize with.
chilly last night, and sometime early in the morning one of my neighbors had
difficulty getting a vehicle out of someplace it was stuck. Took them
over an hour of revving the engine and spinning the tires to finally escape
whatever they were stuck in. Figure when we get out and about this
morning we’ll see the tire marks in a yard somewhere…
get ready for church this morning. While I love my church family and
agree with the doctrines, part of me really hates mingling with the crowd,
especially knowing that I can’t really be me while I’m there… Guess I’ll
go early so the kid can visit (she’s a social butterfly) and leave just as soon
as it is over.