Cutting the Cable (TV) With Rabbit Ears

It took years for me to do this.

I was afraid to disconnect from cable TV.

What would I do without it? My favorite programs were on it: Law and Order, Boston Legal, and Turner Classic movies.

And my youngest daughter loved the Disney station. But I could not stand the advertising, the endless commercials (not on Turner) and I was not so sure that some of those children's programs were all that wholesome either.

And the price of the service kept going up and up and up.

But still I hung in there.

There is something social about having cable. It's like you're not connected to the world unless you have it.

But when the prices hit $ 65 a month I baulked.

That's how much I paid for rent in my first cabin when I moved away from home in 1968, and that included utilities.

But still the fear of disconnecting persisted.

My daughter out grew the Disney station and so my last moral fiber to cable was snipped. I reduced to basic television with a package that included Turner Classic Movies.

Total cost: $ 22.

Not bad at all. I received some fifty or sixty stations, which I never watched, Turner Classic Movies, and about five other movie stations; some with commercials others without.

Now, I love the old black and white classics, but after you've seen them half a dozen times each, you start to flip around to the other stations, but the movies they were showing on the other stations were not riveting.

Yet, there was the news.

I love the news.

But, I discovered I was getting more and more of my news on NPR and online.

But I do enjoy the News Hour on PBS.

The case for television kept weakening, yet I still could not cut that cable.

Then one day it happened.

I could not stand it any longer.

I unscrewed the cable.

I was finally free from cable TV.

I took the black box back to the cable company.

I was all alone.

Just me and NPR.

But then I thought, what if there were an emergency?

How would I know what was going on in my neighborhood, in the state, in the country in the world.

I panicked.

And though I love NPR, I wanted to actually see things that were going on locally, to be in touch.

I bought a set of rabbit ears for $ 10, connected them to the antenna on my television and flipped on the set and scrolled down to the easy set-up.

Within moments I was watching five stations with varying degrees of clarity.

Not only did I get our local PBS with the News Hour, but Channel Four, an excellent news station from San Francisco, some sixty miles away, Channel 50, from Santa Rosa, about eight miles away, a Hispanic station which has an excellent news show in Spanish which I understand very little of, but is fascinating to watch, and another channel that shows the same five or so black and white classics over and over and over commercial free.

I do not understand that last station at all.

So, I have television again, for free.

And I hardly watch it at all.

There's something comforting about watching television every once in a while.

And when season four of Boston Legal comes out on DVD I'll rent it from Netflix and watch it commercial free.