Our introductory contract with the cable company ended after a
year and they wanted to up our payments by over $50.00. Sorry,
Charter, we need that fifty more than you do. We declined further TV
service and let go of our land line. Internet is $55.00 per month;
can’t see a way around that yet. We quit Verizon Mobile for
Consumer Cellular and cut our cell phone bill from $120.00 to $52.00.
Robo calls, telemarketers, are, so far, a thing of the past without a
There have been a couple of times when the fax line might have
been handy. It makes me crabby to use our cell phone minutes waiting
on hold for, say, an insurance call center. But the TV? No problem,
never watched it. When I watched author Carsen Taite’s Vlog at
“Women and Words,”
about TV binges, she got me thinking.
Both my sweetheart and I used to watch TV. She worked long hours
at her job before leaving the rat race to join me as a downwardly
mobile West Coastie. TV was the perfect antidote to her thankless
high pressure job. I kept away the lonesomes by paying bills, doing
my taxes, brushing the animals while tuning in to “Law and Order,”
“Boston Legal,” “Gray’s Anatomy” and “The Closer.”
We did have a tradition of watching the New York Thanksgiving Day
Parade while preparing our meal. On New Year’s Eve we liked to
watch the ball drop at Times Square. This year we watched the Snoopy
balloon and Anderson Cooper on line. There is even a way to receive a
TV signals through our computers and broadcast it on a larger TV
screen. But we haven’t bothered. Maybe we will by the time Ellen
hosts the Oscars again.
I developed an aversion to TV as a kid. My father brought home the
first one when I was five and soon that was the only thing the family
did together on a regular basis. After a few years of that, I found
myself getting angry while watching, or while others watched. TV had
become an irritant. As a teenager I considered TV to be the drug of
the masses, although I did watch old movies in the wee hours. In
college I was usually the one to turn off the television in the dorm
lounge, which otherwise would have droned 24/7. Into adulthood, just
the sound of the infernal machine drives me bonkers. The flickering
of the light, if I’m not looking directly at a screen, makes me
Was all this the result of a lesbian childhood spent in the
company of heterosexual parents? Do televisions trigger the anger
born of that poor fit? Maybe. Or: I remember, at an early age,
complaining to my mother about the ads. She explained that’s how
the stations made money. I was having none of it and had a little 8
year old socialist revolution. Then my father fashioned a “blab-off.”
He attached a wire to the mysterious back of the console TV and put a
toggle switch on his end. The sound of the ads blessedly disappeared.
Now cable companies think we should pay fees and watch ads.
When I was living in Florida, every doctor’s office had a T.V.,
usually controlled by staff and often set to FOX News or docu-ads. I
saw a retina specialist periodically. It was crazy-making to sit in a
waiting room trapped with other people half-blinded by dilation
drops, a screen flickering above us, and the volume turned high for
the hard of hearing seniors. Even more maddening was the acquiescence
to this common visual and aural bombardment at the internist’s, the
vet’s, the eye surgeon, the diagnostic lab.
Our television is draped with a rainbow flag. DVDs of TV seasons
and movies have been sitting of shelves for years now, ready for
viewing when we have time. We never do have time.
Instead, we play with our rocks, pictures and books. We collect
agates, petrified woods fossils and jaspers on beach walks and pour
over these beauties in the evening. My sweetheart is a natural
archivist. She spends hours looking at and organizing photographs,
content as a little kid. Or researching for fun. We both read our
eyes out, as my Irish-American mother used to say, complaining that I
read too much as a child, even though she’s the one who took me for
my first library card.
The irony, of course, is that often we read on our Kindles. My
sweetheart’s archiving is all done on line. Together, we own 2
basic Kindles, three laptops, an HP Touch, a first gen iPad, two
smart phones and a Galaxy Tab 3. If their screens are not enough to
make up for the loss of TV, as a last resort, our shelves hold about
5,000 books. Which is yet another reason we needed to ax the co-ax.
[Editor's Note: Lee Lynch is the author
of over 13 books. Her latest, Rafferty
Street, concludes her epic
Morton River Valley trilogy. You can reach Lynch at
Copyright 2014 Lee Lynch.