Monday, March 1, 2010

Confessions of a Non-Watcher

I am one of those unusual people who does not watch TV. I grew up in a small town that was, to me, the center of the world, but which other people would describe as "remote," "on the frontier," or "in the bush." Television reception did not come to my town until the winter that I was six. My dad brought one home from the store on spec so he could watch a ski jumping competition on it. I had never seen a television before. I remember that I actually went around to the back of the TV to try to discover how the little tiny ski jumpers had managed to get inside of it. My theory was that they entered single-file through a pipe. However, I didn't have any explanation as to how they could have put the mountain and the snow inside the TV. And why didn't the snow melt now that it was inside the house?

By the following summer, we owned a black and white TV with rabbit ears, which was proudly ensconced in a corner of the living room. It was popular with TV-less neighbourhood children, who dropped in to watch Quick Draw McGraw, Batman, and Bugs Bunny. Over my growing up years, the television remained a centerpiece of the living room. At some point, we had an aerial installed on the roof (remember TV aerials?), and at some later point, we acquired a colour television. However, there was only one channel; it broadcast CBC plus some local programming. Cable did not come to the area until many years after I had grown up and moved away.

Those were the years of my TV watching -- ages seven to age eighteen. That is the only era for which I have even a remote possibility of being able to answer entertainment themed Trivial Pursuit questions. After that, I did not own a TV for quite few years. Then when I was married with children, TV came into my life again, but I seldom watched it. (There was a two-year period around the early nineties that I suddenly started watching two programs: L.A. Law, and Star Trek, The Next Generation. That's it. I guess I was looking for any excuse to avoid writing my graduate thesis.)

At this time of my life, we have a TV with a full cable package that resides in the basement for the benefit of my son. I don't watch it, except for three things. I watch elections. I watch World Cup Soccer. And I watch the Olympics. The Olympics are over now, and so my sudden spate of TV-watching is now finished as well, for awhile. I think my son will be relieved to have the basement TV room back to himself again. Just this last few weeks, I've been able to contribute to the conversation when people started talking about what they watched on TV last night; that's been a benefit. But I will be glad to get back to my old non-watching habits. . . . all that time -- time to do what I want to do.

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