Even though the farm is about 15 minutes from a (rural) city with broadband internet, there is none where we are. Options are limited to satellite internet, fax speed DSL (seriously), and using your cell phone for WiFi. Since we chose the last option, streaming is pretty much out. Watching one streamed movie would use up nearly all of our data allowance.
Watching less tv has freed up time to read, talk, think, work on projects, clean…the list goes on. We buy DVDs and subscribe to a DVD rental service, so we are able to watch the tv series we started watching in our more “connected” days, as well as recently-released movies and documentaries.
One difference we’ve noted since we no longer have cable is that we are no longer bombarded by the advertising that’s ubiquitous on those channels. We aren’t harrassed by unwanted fast food ads, exhortations to buy jewelry, cars, houses, conventionally-raised food…no more extra-loud commercials yammering at us, repeatedly. No food porn images at all hours of day and night, like big, juicy-looking burgers that don’t look like that at all, in reality. The real burger would be a letdown: probably a sad, thin, grayish patty made of used-up factory dairy cows on a bun like a big fat foam sponge, slathered with oozy, cloying mayo, with limp iceberg lettuce and a tasteless tomato ring – probably all askew and extra greasy for good measure. Even if you manage to get past the cold reality and consume it, it sits like an unwelcome greasy lump in your gut and you wonder why you ate it in the first place. Maybe it’s at least partly due to the additives. Yep – it’s not just meat, veggies, and bread.
We listen to our own musical selections at home, too, rather than the radio. That means no radio ads, either. No more annoying nasally jewelry-store ads or plugs for local restaurants that we likely wouldn’t eat at, anyway (these aren’t ads for locally-sourced places). Just all 80’s all the time! Or jazz, or classical, or other genres.
We’ve enjoyed the reprieve from the visual and auditory assaults of commercials. We’re not missing anything – in fact, we’re more thoughtful about what we buy, likely because we don’t have those advertisers whispering – nay, shouting – in our ears to consume, consume, consume. Someone once said that buying clothes was like trying to fill a hole that kept getting bigger: the more she bought, the more unsatisfied she felt. Shopping “therapy” isn’t therapeutic at all; instead, isn’t it really more a distraction from what’s really bothering you? If you feel a burning need to spend some of your hard-earned cash, consider donating to a worthy charity. It’ll make you feel good, too.