Three years ago, we didn’t have a TV. And were a bit uppity about it. As of last Saturday afternoon, we have three. And two are big. And one is officially “smart”.
My birthday was last week, and last Saturday my stepdad (Earl) and his wife (Deb) brought over my gift: a new 32” SMART TV + WI-FI, prompted no doubt by a previous visit that revealed our having outfitted our living room with a TV about the size of a desktop computer monitor, a TV that never seemed small in our tiny Brooklyn sublet but turned out to be exactly that when relocated to our relatively spacious living room in CA.
It was a bit awkward, though, for a moment, when Earl and Deb arrived, gift in tow, and could see through the front window that we had already replaced our dimensionally-challenged TV with a new 32” unit. In fact, we had gone out the day before Thanksgiving to gleefully do what we had discussed doing yet had failed to do for months: replace that puny little TV with a grown up TV, finally pulling the trigger on a $220 off-brander on pre-Black Friday sale for $150, which we promptly set up and attached to our handy little antenna (we’d been off cable for about a year) and marveled at for a solid four days—Alex Trebek had never looked so vibrant—before Earl and Deb’s aforementioned birthday visit, the aforementioned awkwardness of quickly assuaged upon the discovery that the two sets were not of the same ilk, the new arrival being, as the box prominently declared, “SMART + WI-FI”.
Last Christmas, Earl and Deb, who are generous gift-givers, gave us a Kindle Fire. It was our third Kindle of the season, as my mother and her now husband—also generously—got Liz and I each a Kindle reader. Liz and I had scoffed and guffawed for years at the idea of us, serious readers that we are, would do so on a machine, a sentiment that—perhaps revealingly—faded immediately upon our unexpectedly becoming owners of such devices. Personally, I’ve found my Kindle reader to be particularly useful when traveling—in the past, for big trips, I’d pack my bags at about a 50/50 books to clothes ratio (cuz you never know). And while electronic versions of current books can be pricy, you can load up the complete works of, like, Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare, Joyce, etc. all for around ninety-nine cents a pop. More recently, I’ve found the ability to one-handedly turn pages by push-button convenient while feeding a baby.
But it’s the Kindle Fire that gets the most use in our household, and it’s this particular device that—uppity as we were our year with no TV, perched in our respective chairs, tomes in hand, approaching social situations prepared to pounce on any and every opportunity to note our dismissal of that technological scourge of society—that reveals the somewhat embarrassing fact that given the choice of classical (or even not classical) literature versus shiny and colorful full seasons of The West Wing or Glee, the shiny and colorful win out every time.
It was the Kindle Fire that allowed us to ditch cable last year and that became our primary deliverer of passive entertainment, until our special delivery the past Saturday. The upshot is this: while we don’t see ourselves as the kind of people with a 32” TV in their bedroom and a 32” TV in their living room with cable and On-Demand and Netflix Instant Video and Amazon Instant Video and twenty other things, and while we don’t envision raising our child amongst such bombardment, for now we’re kind of enjoying it. (I mean, who doesn’t want to lie in bed watching Hoarders at six in the morning?)