No Television

Several years ago, when I was recovering from knee replacement surgery, a friend, who was among those stopping by to look after me, was shocked to discover that I have no television set. He couldn’t imagine modern life without watching television.

For many years, I haven’t had a television. I had discovered long ago that I didn’t have time to watch it. I got my news from the internet, newspapers, and NPR. And my free time was taken up with reading—so many books waiting for me to devour them. My work time was writing, an occupation that must be pursued alone in the quiet of my office.

If there’s something I really want to see—like the recent exchange among the president, Pelosi, and Schumer—I can access it on the internet. I find that the times I need to do that are rare.

One of the elements in my choice not to own a television set is that seeing is less important to me than hearing. Music is a passion with me. I hold a BA in music, and I nearly always have classical music playing on one of my three excellent stereos. I find that as I grow older, though, I want silence while I’m reading or writing. I want nothing to distract me from the words.

I’m preparing to move to a new house. When I’m settled, I’ll probably have a large screen on the wall of whatever room I choose to relax in, primarily so that I can watch DVDs of movies or operas I want to view. So I’ll probably have a television as part of it. I don’t expect that I’ll watch it very often.

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