I just saw this report over on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website talking about the cancellation/removal of land-line phones in favor of cell-phone-only service. We are apparently at a point where one-in-five American homes have removed their plain ol’ telephone service in favor of exclusively using cell phones. The wife and I have been this way since 2004 when we moved into our first apartment, and continue to be this way in the new house. In addition to that, we also canceled our cable television service shortly before moving, and continue to operate with no traditional television service.
You know what? Things are just fine.
In terms of telephone service, it makes complete sense to abandon the land lines. While the quality of cell phone calls still leaves a lot to be desired, it suffices more than enough for my phone conversation purposes, which typically do not last longer than one minute unless I am calling my parents. If I am on the road or otherwise out and cannot be reached, my simply not answering the phone is exactly the same thing as someone calling me and not being home to pick up the phone. Combine that with text messages that completely replace voice mail in terms of disseminating tiny bits of information in quick, easily-digestible form… well, you’ve got a winner.
As for television, it is equally fine without it. We have enough things to keep us busy after the move that we have no time to just sit around and mindlessly watch television, anyway. Once things settle back down a little bit (which they are already beginning to do), we still have more than enough viewable-passive-media to keep us entertained until the ends of time without needing to obtain anything else. Throw video games into the mix, and I have a hard time understanding why I would ever actually need cable service on my television. In fact, the word “television” does not accurately describe that 50″ Kuro in my living room now, since everything from that to the “old TV” to the computer monitors are really nothing more than display surfaces of varying sizes and aged technology. Whether it’s a video game, a DVD, a Blu-ray, episodes downloaded online and burned to DVD+RW for viewing on the PS3 or 360… all of these display surfaces act in exactly the same way without needing to pay someone to be constantly broadcasting a live signal to them which I have no interest in tuning into, anyway.
I will admit there is a strange sort of “learning curve” to not being able to just sit down, hit a power button, and expect an in-progress video. Everything must be manually initiated. In the long run, I prefer this. Beyond the cost savings, I find that I gain precious minutes here and there that might otherwise be spent mindlessly flipping channels before realizing there is nothing to watch and starting up some other activity. Now-a-days, I just go right into whatever that “something else” would have been.
I’m constantly reminded of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer wants to cancel his mail. Can we do that, yet?