Remember when we all had landlines in our homes? Remember when we all paid exorbitant monthly fees to phone companies, just in case… our mobile’s battery died in a moment of crisis! Just in case during an absolute, complete and utter moment of panic, we… dropped our mobile down the toilet and were left without any other means of communication with the outside world.
Not to worry, the trusty house phone sat in the hall. Sitting smugly and able beside a dying house plant, ready to spring into action and communicate our urgency.
I think it took me about two years of procrastination before I eventually bit the bullet and cancelled my landline. That was five years ago and coincided happily with mobile companies providing ‘all inclusive’ tariff options. I have never missed it, needed it, lamented its loss or dropped my mobile down the toilet. Nor did I feel the need to light bonfires on the top of the nearest hill or start training homing pigeons.
In fact life has continued with ever increasing methods of communication thanks to decent broadband and smartphones. Gone are the smoke signals, replaced nowadays by Aboriginal Australians using WhatsApp and Native Americans swapping news on Viber.
Speaking of smoke signals, even the Pope is on Twitter. He has a whopping 4.57 million followers! He follows eight. I immediately clicked to see who they were. Guess what? They’re himself in eight different languages!! No faltering sense of self importance there eh?
Anyway, all this talk of the Pontiff is distracting me from what I really want to tell you. Following another year of procrastination and agonising, a decision has been made. I have made up my mind. The deed has been done. The call has been made – from my mobile!
I cancelled my TV channel subscription. Gasp!
I dialed the number. I pressed various keys to reach different departments. Needless to say they don’t make it easy for you. When I eventually got through to something with a pulse, a lengthy discussion followed which involved a lot of persuasion from the pulse’s side, and a lot of heels digging in from the my side. A myriad of different options were given, none of which enticed me or wavered my resolve.
Over the last year or two, a large chunk of our programme viewing has been online, and most of those movies, series etc. were watched legally and often on the actual TV! Even better, they were either free of very low cost monthly subscriptions. WHY oh WHY was I paying 40 euro a month for channels I watched twice a week at most, when what I was watching was either available on iPlayers, Netflix or other online sites.
I had been considering doing this for some time now, all I needed was a push. The final decision hit me like a bolt of lightening. Literally. Last week’s storm blew up my digital TV box, which sat ignored for four days before I even reported it. This was largely down to my initial panic to get the broadband working again and the fact that my TV service provider’s hold time on their fault-line was 25 minutes in the aftermath of the storm, as the entire city was in a panic to get Sponge Bob back on their screens to calm their demented toddlers.
I’m delighted the decision has been made. Think of the hours I have wasted channel surfing mindlessly. I have more to fill my time with now. My kids do too as they’re older and have plenty of gadgets to watch things on. As a family we watch very little on the TV. Oh we’re no angels, laptops, tablets and the Xbox take up enormous amounts of our time. No way could I have done this when the kids were younger! Cartoons kept us all sane for varying reasons. No doubt we’ll miss the hundreds of channels with nothing worth watching occasionally, but I’m curious to see how it goes. I find it almost liberating.
Of course I naively think we’ll fill more of our time talking, reading, listening to music, playing the occasional board game, but in reality we’ll still watch plenty of programmes, but hopefully not so many hours of rubbish. I see our viewing having a purpose from now on. Let’s see…
If you call to my house some wet December afternoon and find us in a darkened room rocking over and back in the corner, take us home with you for a few episodes of something we can’t find quickly on an iPlayer, get us over the hump with a cup of tea and send us off on our merry channel-free way.
Lastly it needs to be said that this is only possible because I live in a city with 100% phone reception and fibre-powered broadband. There are still areas of Ireland without broadband of any description and on a good day, if you stand on one leg, wear a red hat, lick a frog and hold an striped umbrella, with an easterly wind blowing, you might… just might… get one bar of mobile phone reception!