Beaten by Television

I guess it had to happen – we’ve succumbed and installed a television.

For nearly 12 months we haven’t had telly, and that’s a real conversation stopper. Gather with a group of friends and inevitably the conversation turns to what they watched last night – at this time of the year, it’s obviously the Olympics. Then when you say, oh, we don’t have television they all cease mid-sentence, turn in unison, “you what?”. Then – and this is the interesting bit – they always say, “oh you’re so lucky/strong/good. I wish we could go without a television.”

Actually, I never missed it. Occasionally, for instance I would have liked to see the Men’s Final at Wimbledon, but that will always be available somewhere for me to watch. I never missed the news, that’s for sure. On the occasions when I was in, say, an hotel, or at Colin’s chambers, and others were watching the news, it only took two minutes to remind me why I don’t miss television.

We grew up without television and what did we do? We did family things – playing board games, for instance. Cards, monopoly, chess. Or we read books, or did our homework, and our parents spoke to us and read us stories. Dad told us history, Mum always read us a bedtime story, every night.

How many families miss out on this real quality time, because of that great big diversion in the middle of the living room, the television.

Well, we have deliberately sited ours over in a corner, so if we watch it we actually have to turn the chairs around, and make an effort. I’m damned if I’m going to plonk down on the couch and blob out, waiting for Colin to come home, watching all the damned garbage they call programmes.

The funniest thing happened, which in a way demonstrated how much people take for granted that everyone has television, is when Mikki, the TV installation man, had finished and I was telling him that I did not really want television, that I hadn’t missed it at all, he was turning to go and then said, “Oh, did you see that race the other night…?”

I rest my case.



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