Gross PointBlank

Going tubeless opens many doors

When I was growing up I rarely watched television. My mom used to marvel at my lack of interest. I would've rather played with Barbie dolls than watch something on the tube.

Simply put, that's changed. A lot.

I woke up New Year's morning and groggily made my way to the tube. When I turned it on, all I could see was white fuzz.

My first thought was, "Did I forget to pay the bill?"

I had, so that wasn't it.

I then hit every conceivable button on the remote control, but alas, nothing happened. I did this for probably 15 minutes or so, randomly selecting buttons.

I called the cable company and was treated to the computerized, albeit delightful, voice of the automated phone program. She/it would ask questions then ask, "Please keep the answer simple."

Simple? That makes as much sense as my house plants advising me that I talk too much.

She/it would ask questions and when I'd say, "I don't know," she/it would say, "I'm sorry. I do not understand your answer. Please try again."

As my blood pressure began to rise, her/its voice remained calm.

Who invented automated voice systems on telephones?

Not knowing how else to get to technical support, I stopped being polite to her/it and would only answer with huffy little grunts.

After the third grunt, it worked.

I ended up calling technical support three times that day (and they advised me how to get past the automated part). Turns out the cable box is probably shot, but I won't know that for sure until they send help on Jan. 12.

Yup, Jan. 12. 'Til then, I'm without T.V.

The first hour of the first day was the hardest, but my son and I rapidly got over it. I never realized how television can get in the way of relationships, but I can see it now.

First, we played Monopoly and I learned that when it comes to finances, my poor son is wired just exactly like me. We then watched a movie that he had bought himself after reading a series of books that the movie was based on. Rather than quietly watching the movie, we actually talked. Den shared tidbits from the book with me, explaining details about how the movie differed from the books. This made him feel pretty good about himself.

In fact, we're feeling pretty good about each other. Initially, I felt kind of robbed.

But it turns out that the lack of television is a true blessing. We squabble less, talk and laugh more.

It's true what they say. You can learn a lot about those that you live with if you just shut off the tube.


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