It's been almost 21 days since I set eyes on the small screen, and I'm feeling like a cultural castaway. My husband and I typically average an hour of TV a night, but we recently had to turn off the tube cold turkey because we moved - and our new cable provider is booked until next week. Days 1-7 were a breeze - we took a vacation, trading scenes of Homer Simpson's Springfield for vistas of the Swiss Alps.
But when we returned and prepared to move, I fell off the wagon and onto the couch while packing one night. My remote landed on MTV's "Newlyweds," a reality show about a camera-friendly pair learning to divvy up housework while whining about their beloved's dirty socks. (Cue the marriage counselor.) It was like a sharp smack on the wrist. I quickly turned off the tube and haven't looked back. In the following days, my productivity leaped. In the time it takes to watch "Queer Eye" or "Banzai," cupboards were emptied, boxes got packed. Instead of watching "House Hunters," we moved into a house of our own. After busy nights, I still had time to curl up with "East of Eden."
The average American tunes into four hours of TV each day, according to A.C. Nielsen. That's how long it took four able-bodied men to move us into our home. It's the time it took us to clean and paint a small room. And it adds up to two months per year.
Still, as I checked off household projects - wiping windows, scrubbing floors - I'd had enough of industry. By day 17, I wanted a live feed back in my living room. But the hiatus has honed my preferences. Forget mainstream shows - I want my HGTV! Now that it's time to decorate, I need "Designer's Challenge" more than ever. I'm counting the days: five more to go.