Last night, A. and I did something that felt a little bit wild. We sold our 42-inch flat-screen TV. Finito. Bye-bye. No more TV.
Ditching the TV is something A. and I have been talking about since we met. A. says it’s always been his dream to live TV-less. Neither of us watches much of it (eh em, besides this), and both of us feel sluggish and unproductive when we watch it (unless it’s a big-time sporting event, like the World Cup, but that’s not on for a few years anyway). When we want a down night, we usually read or play a game of chess or listen to music and talk.
So when we signed our lease and assessed our new space, we went through a checklist of what to keep and what to ditch. That’s when we realized that not only do we not really want a TV, we don’t have space for it. A. doesn’t like it when a TV dominates the living room. I don’t like having a TV in the bedroom. That leaves the baby/guest room, and all of the research we’ve read says that TV is bad for the brain before the age of 2. And really, a big honking TV in the baby room seems wrong.
So a few days ago, A. put an ad on Craig’s List to sell the TV for $350. And he got a few responses, including from a guy named Sir Jordan. I was at work when A. sent me an instant message.
“Can you check out this guy on Facebook?”
“Yep, hold please. … He’s affiliated with Howard University. Has more than 1,600 friends.”
“Seems OK?” A. asked.
“Sure. Just sent you a photo.”
“Is he one of Prince William’s knights?”
A. told this guy he would “reserve” the TV for him. And they decided Sir Jordan would pick it up last night at 7 p.m. But after sporadic communication, A. didn’t think this Sir Jordan would show. It was after 7 p.m. and A. told me on the phone that he would re-post the ad. Then he got another call: “Hold on, that’s him. Lock the doors till I get there.”
Fast forward to about an hour later: Sir Jordan and his buddy Dante pull up to the rickety staircase in our dark back alley. They clank up the stairs, smile and shake our hands — very friendly, nice guys. As they enter the living room, they ask if there is something wrong with the TV — does the picture go out? (Basically: Who in their right minds would get rid of this?)
I sheepishly say we’re moving into a smaller space and having a baby and it’s better for the baby to not be exposed to the TV, but that also “may be hippie drivel…” My voice trails off: I know I sound dumb. Sir Jordan looks at me blankly. Later, as A. is fussing with the high-definition, Sir Jordan says, “Yo, I ain’t trippin’, it’s cool.”
At one point, Sir Jordan asks me if I want a new cell phone — an iPhone perhaps? Hm. “No, thanks.” And when he picks up one end of the TV — Dante has the other — Sir Jordan says, “Man, this is heavy. I have a 46-inch projection TV that’s not this heavy.” Really? That’s when I wonder if they’re buying this TV to sell it for more money.
Regardless, they haul it off, out the screen door and down the steps into the summer night.
A few hours later, my roommate came home and noticed that we put the old TV back on the stand.
“Oh my god,” she said. “It looks so small! I can’t believe how small it is!” She looked appalled — wide eyes peering at that tiny TV like, “How can I watch this?” It is small. But that it feels like a societal need to keep getting bigger and bigger TVs is a sign to me that we made the right move.
In our new place, A. plans to set up a shop where he can work on more projects like his beautiful chess set. I’d like to read and write and cook (I’m thinking salted caramels) and come up with my own creative projects. Puzzles! Painting! Short stories!
Of course, I thought the best part of our TV unloading was even later in the evening when A. leaned into me and gently and very quietly said: “Thank you.”
(Side note: We’re talking about getting a 22-inch flat screen to store for when our parents visit. My mom loves her shows like “Regis & Kelly” — and if she stays with us for even a few days, she’ll want to watch them while drinking her morning tea. We can accommodate. Also? We’re kind of cheaters cause when it comes down to it, we can watch movies or “Mad Men” on our computers.)