Sunday Silence

I lived without a television from the late 1970s through the early 90s and thus have lots of television related social gaps. Dallas? Laverne & Shirley? Mork & Mindy? Missed them all and didn’t miss them.

The boob-tube, or idiot-box as my father referred to it, came into my adult life when I got together with my late husband in Sarajevo. He loved it even risking his life for his favorite television shows. To placate the the journalists who made up most of the guests at this Holiday Inn smack on the front line, the satellites on the roof were carefully angled for best reception of CNN, ITV and Sky News. Neil figured out that if he could shift a dish just so, he might see his shows. Donning his flak jacket and helmet in case any snipers spotted him, he crawled across the hotel roof. Armed with a walkie-talkie, he communicated with a friend stationed in his hotel room. Neil shifted the dish until Captain Kirk and Spock were in perfect focus.

When Neil and I moved-in together in Zagreb, he insisted on having a television with the necessary dish. I settled easily into watching his English comedies (and I sheepishly confess to still being hooked on Eastenders). Initially, like all beginning romances, it felt cozy and fun especially after living without electricity and minimum home entertainment for over a year.

From having no TV presence, my life soon became dominated by it. It was constantly on. I learned to tune-out the canned laughter and Rocky machine gun fire. But I never liked the constant noise. Eventually, I asserted myself and demanded that Sundays be TV free until after 5:00 PM. No cartoons, no morning news programs – no irritating commercials!

Sundays became blissfully silent. I still stick to this rule – even when Molly’s at school and I am alone in the house. While I confess to now having my own addiction to shows like Downton Abbey, Homeland, British Mysteries and the news, I never turn it on until the evening, no matter the day. Even so, I still watch too much and it’s an incredible time-suck, don’t you think? But never on Sundays. That silence feels sacred.

When do you watch television?

8 thoughts on “Sunday Silence”

  1. Ohhh I like this. What a great story and comment on TV. I watch some pretty junky shows on Network TV and agree with you on the time suck. Facebook too. I remember being in a workshop with Audrey Niffenegger and we wondered how she knew so many books. She said she doesn’t watch TV. Hmmmm….I have memories of watching it with my family and so have it on, kind of as a memory of them…

  2. I love watching what my son refers to as Inspector British – in other words, any British detective show. They take me away from where I am now, and Justice is almost always done. (Not in the first season of Luther, but it was interesting all the same.) Gotta run. Golden Globes & Downton on soon. (I can quit any time…)

  3. I got a big chuckle from Gabi’s final sentences — loved humor in them! Is TV a time suck? You bet it is, but I’m guilty of watching far too much of it. I tend to record programs and then later binge watch them — I’m a huge fan of Homeland as well.

  4. Gabi’s hysterical and dear – and it’s exactly what I did too. If you lived around here you’d join Gabi’s Writer’s Rendezvous get together at the store maybe or just meet her for tea, wine and a gab. That’s what I do!

  5. I was raised on shows like I Love Lucy, The Muppet Show, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and Carol Burnett. Those were great shows that never depicted violence or subjects that were questionable. I remember sitting cuddled up next to my daddy and laughing and laughing!!! Those were good times. We worked our tails off and looked forward to that. These days I don’t have the tv on at all. It’s just as well as we have a 9 year old. We try our hardest to not have her exposed to today’s tv shows, video games or radio that has any inkling of violence whether it be guns, knives, shoehorns, words, anger etc etc. it’s hard to do, but we try. I will allow her to watch SOME cartoons, she loves Mr. Bean, and cooking shows used to be a favorite. But YES, the quietness IS sacred. It’s welcoming and peaceful!!!!!

  6. Great post! For about 15 years I was busy with raising 3 daughters, my television was limited to Barney, then the Disney Channel. Mostly the tv was off. Finally they are almost grown and I have some time for tv again. I find myself binge watching action stuff. How odd! I recently watched Breaking Bad, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Flash, Arrow, Criminal Minds, Bones. I like things happening! And clearly I like fantasy. I tried The Big Bang Theory but it was just vapid. The Walking Dead was too grim. I’m want escapist viewing right now I guess.

  7. What an image! A helmet and flak jacket! TV at any price! What a life you’ve had! No daytime TV – reminds me of visits to my father-in-law in the nursing home. I am so violence-averse that many popular shows are out of the question, so we wind up watching far too much of “Chopped” and “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” – safe fare! Dave and I are missing our Sunday nights at Downton Abbey!

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