Confessions on cable TV

When I moved into my new place last month, I splurged on cable.  I tried to justify it for any number of reasons (my other entertainment budget is nil, etc), but ultimately, I thought it would be kind of fun.  It didn't hurt that TV reception is pretty minimal without cable where I live.  So cable it is.

I used to be one of those "Oh, but I don't watch TV" people.  It started as a legitimate I-have-no-real-inclination-to-watch things.  When I was younger, I preferred reading.  Now that I'm older (and I spend all day reading and writing), I need to relax with less eye strain.  And I've gotten over my need to appear as a cool Intelligentista who is way the hell too cool to sit in front of the boob tube every night.

I thought eschewing TV made me hip and edgy.  It made me different from the stereotypical "fat, lazy American" that you read about in the papers.  It made me feel sort of better than.  I'm not the kind of person who would spend heaps of cash every month on something that just rots your brain!  There were plenty of times when, financially, forking out any extra money wasn't going to happen.  Not that my current budget has me rolling in the dough, but I can be careful and comfortable.

Here's the confession: I really like cable.  Every Saturday night is House reruns on Bravo (which is, as far as I can tell, the sole redeeming feature of that network).  I watched Bones reruns tonight on TNT.  I tuned in to a true crime marathon the other day, which was way too much fun. We all need a bit of smut, right?  I don't have DVR or Tivo--generally speaking, I'm around when a show airs, and if I like the program enough, I'll make an effort to watch it.  If it's not worth the effort, that I guess I'm not all that attached to the show.  If two shows ever aired at the same time, I would be in trouble, though.

It was something my eating disordered brain fought tooth and nail.  A chance to laze about!  Sit and do nothing! Become a couch potato!  Heavens, no!  Cable was banal and indulgent.

Well, maybe it is.  But it's also fun.  That's something I'm really starting to enjoy.


Twirling Girl said...

I am the exact same way. I don't have a TV, and I've always been one of those "I don't watch TV" people. But now that I live alone, and I'm moving through my ED, I'm giving myself a free pass to watch crappy TV on my computer when I get home. If I need to do schoolwork, I generally do it elsewhere. Home is where I can wear sweats and watch a lot of television and give my brain and body a rest. A year ago, I would have felt really guilty for "lazing" about. But there are worse things to be doing, and it gives me such great relaxation! It's my little treat.

hm said...

Sounds beautiful. The cutting yourself slack part. The being ok w/having fun part. Perfect. :)

Katie said...

I don't have a TV either - for financial reasons more than anyone else - but I do enjoy watching trashy TV when I'm at my parents' house ;) It's great that you are allowing yourself to relax like that! I have to settle for watching my House DVD boxsets on my laptop...

findingthewholeself said...

I watch two TV shows: House and Glee.

House because I just love the medical aspect and Hugh Laurie. Glee....well, we all need some stupid entertainment once in awhile.

But I'm too ADD to sit for much longer than one show. I can barely 'allow' myself to relax to watch a movie. Watching an hour television show is a big step for me. :)

Libby said...

I used to work with a guy who totally, unabashedly, loved television. He loved it the same way that some people love cars or football or quilting. He owned THREE TiVos because he never wanted to miss a show. He watched entire series in record time. I got him hooked on Degrassi! It was really refreshing, because he was so unashamed. He was so unapologetic. He just, simply, loved TV. I think that knowing him and seeing his obsession and realizing that I was totally OK with it really helped me to get over my TV "thing." Sometimes I just need to turn my brain off. And I think you said something not long ago about how House reruns gave you something "familiar" and in that somehow comforting. I totally get that. I had to give up cable when I made all my employment switch decisions. I miss having it! But thankfully, Netflix and my little antenna have kept me sated. :)

KL said...

For YEARS I was a PBS snob. I watched tv, but ONLY to tune into PBS. Then my first baby was born. I was too tired to read books and I bored with my CD collection. When he was about 6 months old I finally broke down and got cable. OMG! I was embarassed at how much I loved it! Shhh don't tell anyone!

My oldest child is now almost 13 years old and seriously i'd be lost without cable! I LOVE Law and Order, House and documentaries. I still watch a lot of PBS, but I also watch a lot of other stuff too. More than anything though, giving in to cable has taught me to lighten up and not take myself so seriously.

Recently, we splurged and got 2 DVR's for the house. I sometimes debate the wisdom of that decision, but I figure DVR'ing Oprah is cheaper than therapy so i'm saving money! :-)

KrisB said...

Being able to enjoy TV sounds like a sign of recovery from that negative mind of ED to me! I like to make necklaces and bracelets, and I love having my favorite shows playing at the same time. It's double the pleasure.

Carrie Arnold said...


I usually crochet while I'm watching TV. I like to have my hands busy, if for no other reason than to keep me from chewing my nails! Oddly, it helps me focus better on the action (unless it's very visual action, during which I actually put the yarn down!)

KrisB said...

Carrie, I also will stop beading when I want to see what is going on. Unless it is one of my very favorite shows, I can't seem to just watch and not do something else at the same time. Often I also read the paper, pay bills and check out my favorite sites on my computer while watching.

KrisB said...

Oh, and here is what we did to avoid the big cable fees. We knocked our cable down to basic. We got a Mac Mini and a Mac monitor, and hooked the cable up to the Mini. We got EyeTV, a program that manages the channels that we do get quite nicely, with a program guide, ability to record like a DVR and ability to set up for automatic recording. Whatever programs that I don't have on cable, I watch from the web site for the channels.

The monitor is fantastic (and we didn't get the biggest one), with sharp picture and gorgeous colors. We had a wireless keyboard that we hadn't been using, and we got a wireless trackpad, so I can do all of this from my couch, which is a good thing when you are balancing beads, which have a tendency to roll off and disappear into tiny hiding places.

We also got Netflix, and we are seeing so many movies that we missed in the past and all the current ones that we don't want to spend lots of money in the movie theaters to see. Netflix has tons of TV and documentaries, too. We figure that in 2 years, we will have paid for the Mini and the monitor in what we aren't paying the cable compay, and we'll actually have something to show for it. All this and no more big cable tv bills.

KrisB said...

Oops, I mean we got an Apple monitor.

Eating Alone said...

So just a thought but why is it always "Fat and lazy". Can a person be fat and not lazy? And to be honest I know a lot of very lazy skinny people and a lot of fat people that work very hard (sure we might have BED or some thing but still work very hard) and live full lives.

Just a thought.

KL said...

That's a GREAT point Eating Alone!

HikerRD said...

I could see the headlines now: TV watching: A New Marker For Recovery!"
Isn't it great that this is a measure of progress?!

HikerRD said...

@ Eating Alone
Love your comment! Thanks!

Cate said...

This is actually really interesting - I hadn't thought about it before, but since I got sick this time 'round I have stopped watching TV...hmmmm might see what's on tonight :)

Sarah said...

I was never ever a TV person, but D got me hooked! I don't really watch it alone (unless I am at the gym, where each machine has its own TV. Trashy TV=totally justified!) But every night before bed, D and I lie on the couch, have a snack, and watch 30 minutes to an hour of TV. It's usually my favorite time of the day. We are relaxed, Java is lying in between us, I'm wearing my sweatpants, and I'm being a bum. It's awesome.

We don't have cable, partially because it's $$ but mostly because I fear I would never get up if I had 24/7 access to Bravo...

cable tv companies said...

When I was young I don't want to watch TV, I was afraid my brain gets toasted (according to my mom). But now that I'm older and I live alone in my flat I indulge myself watching reruns of TV series. I'm old anyways I won't mind getting my brain toasted.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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