When we moved to our current house in October it meant that we would be living closer to my parents. It used to take them about an hour to drive to visit us, now it only takes about 15 minutes. One of the advantages of living closer to my parents is that they can spend time with their first grand kid on a more regular basis. I think they've been thrilled to have such opportunity.
We typically ask my parents to come to our place to look after Baby T so we don't have to transport a bunch of baby related items back and forth. The other day I asked if my parents could come to our place to babysit for half a day and had an interesting conversation.
Me: "Mrs. T and I need to go to downtown Vancouver to run some errands and would like to go on a movie date if we can. Could you come over to our place and look after Baby T for a few hours?"
Parents: "Yes we can do that but can you drop off Baby T at our place instead?"
Me: "Why? Isn't it better to come to our place instead? We don't need to move things back and forth."
Parents: "Yes we can come to your place but..."
Me: "Huh? Is it because you need to do something specifically at your place?"
Parents: "Well kind of... you are boring."
Me: "Pardon me?"
Parents: "You are boring."
(Me thinking: Did my parents just called me boring?)
Me: "Sorry say that again?"
Parents: "Your place is boring, you don't have TV so we don't know what to do when Baby T is napping..."
We don't have a TV at home; we've been TV and cable free for about four years. When I told Mrs. T about the conversation and she burst out laughing. She's glad that we don't have TV and cable at home so we can actually get things done.
The TV topic came up again a few days later on Boxing Day when my brother purchased a 55" TV for his apartment (Wow that thing is HUGE!). His rationale was simple - he has free cable subscription for 1 years from Shaw so he might as well take advantage of this great offer.
Brother: "You guys should get a TV."
Parents: "Yes, you need a TV"
Me: "Why? We don't need a TV."
Parents: "Baby T needs a TV when he grows up so he knows what's going on in the world."
Brother: "Yeah totally, can you imagine Baby T going to school and not knowing any TV culture or TV commercials? How is he going to relate to other kids? He'd get picked for not having a TV at home."
Me: "That is so ridiculous. There are other ways to keep up on things like that..."
The conversations made me realize a few things:
People use TV to kill time because they have nothing else to do
This makes no sense to me. We all have limited time on earth. Why waste time sitting in front of the TV for hours at the time? Why not spend that time exercising, reading a book, or spending quality times with your family? Before I run off completely guilt free, I suppose I'm guilty for sitting in front of the computer to kill time from time to time...
TV is centre of attention in many households
Sadly TV has become the centre of attention for most North American households. Go to someone's house or apartment and see how they arrange their living/family room. I bet that 99% of the time TV is the featured piece. Living/Family room looks "naked" without a TV.
TV is ingrained in today's culture
When I was young I remember that owning or buying a TV was a big deal and there were only 3 available channels. Most households only had one TV back then (I feel old for saying this!). Now most households have multiple TV's and there are hundreds of channels available. People talk about their ultra-size HD TV's like prized possessions or talk about TV shows all the time.
No TV means you're a social outcast
Because owning a TV is the norm, not owning one makes you a social outcast. People see you differently and think that you're weird. Many people judge others based on their possessions. Ever wonder why we keep hearing high consumer debt on the news? Keeping up with the Joneses anyone?
Being frugal is a lifestyle.
We do not own a TV and have no plan of owning one. This is our lifestyle choice. Instead of spending hours watching TV, we decide to use that time to better use. Not owning a TV or having cable subscription also save us money each year. Frugality is a lifestyle and it's a great lifestyle.
Are Mrs. T and I really that boring?