As I begin this post, I am 20 minutes away from the first day of the SansLux challenge. Initially, I decided to give up Cable Television because it seemed like a gentle way to launch what I can only assume will become a progressively more irksome and challenging experiment. But as the minutes tick down, I’m realizing how comforting it is to let “Saturday Night Live” be typically unfunny and how, even with the television muted for reprieve, I am somehow comforted by its hum and glow.
As a typical Latchkey Kid, cable was my babysitter and melodramatic best friend. Every afternoon after school, Cable was there to fill the disconcerting quiet of an empty home, or to drown the voices of shouting adults, or to distract from the loneliness of a nomadic childhood. It didn’t argue, it didn’t tease – it just showed up like I knew it would when I flicked on that button – safe, predictable and sedating.
Through the years I have watched cable with decreasing frequency, limiting myself to a few specific shows and avoiding getting caught up in the latest series. I’ve become less and less invested in pop culture and more involved in activism and self-exploration. But through it all, I have never given up cable and I have never challenged myself to stop using TV as a way to fill the silence in my life. For years, I even slept with the TV on each night that I slept alone. I stopped that habit a few months ago, and now it’s time to see what life is like without cable at all.
CHALLENGE: 1 Week without cable television.
EXCEPTIONS: DVDs/Streaming Episodes are OK. I can watch cable if invited to friends’ homes, or if it’s on screens in public places. The objective is not to be anti-social or punitive, but to remove immediate access and instant gratification.
*click* Off it goes.