Well, okay, back in Sweden, we never watched regular tv anyways, but we were regular consumers of Netflix and iMovie. During weekdays, we would eat dinner on the sofa while watching an episode of a series on Netflix. Or two episodes if they were the last ones of a season, because we find it very difficult to restricting ourselves to watching the second-last episode only. On weekends we watched a movie, either on Netflix or on iMovie.
Now that I am writing about Netflix, let me rant about it a bit by saying that they invented the art of un-finishing business. I don’t know how many series we have watched that never ended in a meaningful way, or that simply broke off in mid flight, never to return again. I think that Netflix’ problem is that they want to milk their success series a bit too much. Unfortunately for us viewers, they do not know in advance which ones will be successful. So they start writing them in such a way that any ‘season’ (Netflix and their likes have made that word completely loose its meaning) has an ending which looks like one but which is just not meaningful enough to be a real ending. This way, they can continue with another season if it is (still) successful or they can stop it without further ado.
Netflix, iMovies and their competitors have in common that they work exclusively with the internet and as it happens, that is rather scarce to us in Costa Rica. Yes, they do have fibre-optics internet, even close to the places where we have been staying, but not actually available in our homes. The best we can get is prepaid 4G mobile internet. We can not get a subscription because we are no residents. The prepaid internet is reasonably priced but does not allow for the data volumes needed for watching tv series or movies on-line.
Moreover, even if we had a decent internet we had decided to cancel Netflix before we left. We want to live our lives here in a different way than home, and this is one of the differences.
Have we been missing it so far? Not for a second. Neither the movies nor the tv series.
What happens with the time? We spend our dinners talking to each other or enjoying the evening views and sounds. We eat outside on the porch every day, so there is plenty of opportunity for that. Also, instead of watching movies until late at night, we simply go to sleep, or read a book. Or spend time blogging. I guess, one could say that our mental and intellectual productivity has gone up by not watching things that move on a screen.
I sometimes wonder what would happen to the world, if everybody would stop watching mind-numbing tv, and instead would start doing something a bit more active. It doesn’t have to be very high-brow. Reading a book, or a non-glossy newspaper or magazine would do. Just looking out of the window can be nice. A hobby or talking to the neighbors would be good. Or only watching mind-stimulating tv (the stuff that tellingly goes to the non-prime-time hours after ten in the evening) with documentaries, background to the news, serious discussion and talkshows, and what have we.
Obviously, completely stopping it is not going to happen anytime soon, but even reducing mind-numbing tv a little bit, would release unimaginable (but countable) amounts of time to other purposes. If only ten percent (the other 90 would would be spent on other things) of that would be spent on education, human rights, politics and environment that might make all the difference in the world. We might be able to finish some bad business.
I think I am going to try that when we are back in Sweden.