My Story: Living without Cable

contributed by Diane

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My Story: Life Without Cable

It was about a year ago when my husband John and I made a life altering decision to trim cable from our budget. I thought my world had come to an end the day the cable vanished from our humble existence. We were broke though, so the cable had to go.

The first minute without cable John, armed with rabbit ears, fumbled desperately trying to force as many channels as possible into our home. We broke into relieved hysterical laughter when we realized we still had five whole channels to enjoy. At least, I could still watch my favorite soap opera and John could still watch that sports thingy. However, it wasn't long before we realized that several nights a week there wasn't anything worth watching on TV. Boredom crept in. After staring at me for twenty minutes, my husband asked wearily, "Cards?"

I agreed to play. We were forced to come up with solutions to pass time and playing cards was as good as anything. But, how were we going to cope with so much free time?

We played at the kitchen table and listened to an oldies radio station while our three budgies, who usually ignored us, were suddenly fascinated with the turn of events and decided to keep an eye on us. John proceeded to stomp me. He won round after round and got louder and louder. Looking at him, I could see he was enjoying himself.

Our moody teenage son, who never ventures from the basement unless for food, came upstairs to see what the commotion was about. We fell silent as we stared at our 6 foot 3 inch eating machine. He looked at the cards and grunted, "Watcha doin'?"

We look at him, astonished at his ability to speak. My husband piped up awkwardly, "We are playing a game, son. No, it doesn't require electricity." Our son, refusing eye contact, asked in an argumentative tone, "Can I play?" "Sure." Suddenly, without warning, he smiled.

That was the first night of many nights of playing cards. We also explored board games, but we preferred card games. Our son introduced his "cool anti-establishment" parents to the world of video games and gave us his old easy games that we might appreciate. We loved the old games. They were challenging enough and they didn't frighten us like the new games with all the buttons to push and all the options from which to choose. No one over forty should be allowed to play with such games.

We still watch TV, but we are more selective over what we choose to view. We like movies mostly and a couple of weekly programs. So much has changed in our lives from that eventful day of giving up cable.

First, our son has become a social butterfly instead of the basement hermit, and often, we have a table full of kids playing cards at our house. Also, my husband and I are closer than ever for doing more activities together, and we are talking more to our siblings than ever before. We read more and like to discuss the books we have read. We go for walks together, combining fitness and time together. We laugh together more than we ever had. We have each developed hobbies and some of mine have generated a small source of income, like crocheting teddy bears.

You can get videos at the library, but they are mostly educational. You won't find a horror movie or action movie there. However, you can get great cooking videos, exercise videos, decorating videos, and my favorite historical docudramas.

Another idea is to borrow movies from friends who keep video libraries, as long as you return them promptly and handle them carefully.

We also stream some programs from the internet. There's more and more available there. Also, a lot of stuff on youtube. But we find that we want to watch less TV.

I think you will find your life richer and more meaningful for giving up cable and I suggest anyone to give it a try. I'm sure you can think of better ways to use the money.

udated May, 2013

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