At least once every six weeks, my father in law asks me if I watch a TV show that he watches. It's usually a different one than he mentioned last time. For a normal family, this would be a nice question and show that he is interested in what his daughter in law likes. For us, this shows an amazing lack of perception and retention of facts. You see, every time he asks I give him the same answer: no I don't watch that show. We don't get network television. We only get PBS and this has been the case for seven years. At first I'm sure many of you think, "oh well, your memory goes when you are older." Since he's not even 55 yet, I actually give him a different excuse.
He can't remember this because we are weird. What family in America actually chooses to go without television? Who can't stand around the water cooler and maintain their side of a Survivor or American Idol conversation, if only to say they would rather discuss CSI? A family usually either chooses to not own a tv at all on moral grounds or they have it all. We don't fit in either category. We just sort of fell into our situation.
When we moved to this town seven years ago, we quickly discovered that getting tv reception was difficult. I know, the average adult would have already called the cable company and never actually discovered this one, but money was tight and we were going to forgo cable for awhile in an effort to actually pay some more pressing bills. Yes, it was weird, but we had just graduated from college and we were in our "responsible adults" phase. We could, however, get reception from the PBS station, so Sarah watched Sesame Street and Barney and we talked about getting cable in a year when finances were better.
A strange thing happened though. We learned to love PBS. I mean love it. We really enjoy Nova; we look forward to American Experience; I'm upset if I miss an episode of This Old House. We make jokes about slimline white telephones and candle light suppers. PBS is fun. No there's not always something we want to watch on tv, but that's when we turn it off or watch a movie. (We do have a Netflix subscription.) There's enough good stuff on and most of it is stuff we really learn from. (Don't bring up hydrogen fuel, because we can talk your ear off about that.) Educational TV doesn't stop with 10 year olds. And suddenly it's seven years later and we still only talk about getting cable or dish as a "someday" thing.
A few years ago, we were visiting Steve's parents. The house was relatively quiet on a Sunday afternoon, so I turned on the tv just to see what was on. I flipped through six channels and settled on PBS. That's when I knew I was well and truly corrupted. I'm sure there is hope for me, but in the meantime, I'm saving $30 a month and learning an awful lot about roof repair.