It’s 11 days and counting since the cable was shut off. We have zero channels, and as a result I haven’t watched the TV at all. Specific initial outcomes of the experiment include:

  • Borrowed first DVDs from public library (Truly, Madly, Deeply and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Went out every night for a week (totally unheard of)
  • Walked outside more (despite the incredibly harsh Regina weather)
  • Read more than my combined total for the past six months
  • Discovered that the only program I actually miss is Survivor
  • Discovered that I actually really miss Survivor (damn)
  • Discovered that Survivor is available online on the Global website (with fewer ads than on TV)
  • Joined the Teleban (group of blogs lobbying (playfully) for a Ban on TV)

General outcomes include:

  • Increased/improved social life
  • Increased sense of productivity (unclear whether this translates to actual increased productivity)
  • Improved well-being

Overall, the results seem to indicate that not watching TV is great for me, and that not paying for cable is absolutely appropriate to this project. Unfortunately, my love affair with a TV-free life might be shortlived.

My roommates miss TV! The roommate who felt productive and engaged the weekend the cable was cut off now tells me that not having TV makes her feel isolated, and that she doesn’t want to spend time at home.

I was really sad to realize that not everyone thrives on a TV-free existence the way I seem to. And unfortunately, if my roommates do decide to get cable again, I don’t think it would be cool for me to opt out, so that puts me in a tricky situation.

As mentioned in The revolution will not have cable, if the TV is there I will watch it (I’m the kind of creature that requires a healthy environment to actually be healthy). And regardless of that, it would feel pretty tacky not to chip in if both my roommates really want it.

Another possibility is that we get an antenna, which would get us two or three channels for free (though then I’d be buying that, which would still be outside the guidelines…dammit!). The other possibility is that I move out, but I’m not sure the goal of Subverting Overconsumption is to isolate myself from the world so that I can perfectly control my environment. Or maybe it is…arghhh.

What it seems to come down to is that it’s hard to make significant lifestyle downshifts towards reduced consumption and increased sustainability when the people around me aren’t necessarily making similar changes. Of course I dream to changing mass consciousness by putting my own values in full practice, but the idea of preaching (e.g., “Oh come on, don’t you feel like you’d be a more engaged, happier, human human if you never watched TV again?”) feels much more like a nightmare.

So obviously I haven’t struck a balance with any of this. But if the roommates want TV, I don’t think I can and/or will make a giant fuss over it.

xo n