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Cutting the “cable” that binds

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By the time this goes to print, I will have survived 60 hours without cable or satellite television. The decision to pull the plug was a long time coming. My family and close friends were probably getting pretty tired of me teetering on the brink of disconnect and then retreating. But I did it and I must say, it feels exhilarating!

Almost four years ago I transitioned from satellite to cable because satellite was, pardon the pun, sky high. Unfortunately, within two years, my cable bill was where satellite was when I left it and I’ve been kicking this can down the road ever since, talking to others who braved going off the satellite/cable reservation. Every time my bill would come, I was determined to do something about it this time, but then I wondered how in the world I’d survive without Hallmark, Food Network, Fox News or KBTX. And yes, I’m of the generation that was born into a television-less world! Go figure.

My parents bought our first television in 1954 when I was 7 years old. I, more than most people alive today, remember rabbit ears, those tacky antennas on our roofs and when we children served as channel changers – you know, back when television was free. All of this played over and over in my brain and I berated myself for getting to this level of addiction. But when I really paid attention to just how little television I actually watched; it just wasn’t worth the cost.

I’m proud to say that I dismantled the equipment myself and it was very therapeutic – especially since I’m electronically challenged. Actively taking steps to change my situation rather than allowing someone else to do for me reinforced that sense of control I needed about my decision. But then going room to room with three of four televisions flashing “no signal” messages at me was a little disconcerting. Not to mention, such a waste of electronic equipment.

My saving grace was a Roku TV my oldest son bought me last year. I’m still not well versed in how to operate it, but I knew if nothing else, I had Netflix and the Roku Channel! After the cable carnage was complete, my oldest daughter who kicked the habit several years ago, patiently (well, mostly patiently) gave me a Roku tutorial on the Fox Channel over the phone and assisted as I signed up for Hallmark Movies Now. Her support was key because you see, I have this fear of just clicking and “exploring.”

Thanks to friends Kay and Dennis, I had two antennas. I hooked one to one television and was literally jubilant at receiving KBTX! My daughter came over Labor Day and we played with the Flat Wave antenna and I’m please to say, minus the two Spanish channels I can’t understand, I now get eight channels on my Roku!

After taking the plunge, I feel a sense of relief and satisfaction. The world hasn’t ended, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything except that big bill. It’s sort of a step back in time but it’s also a step forward, and one I’m glad I finally took.

Connie Clements is a freelance reporter and award-winning columnist. She writes feature news articles on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.