Living on this beautiful island there are so many aspects of life to enjoy that it seems an awful waste to spend the evening stuck in front of the TV. Here in the south of the island television reception is not good and for me is something of a negative. I have often wondered what our lives would be like if we gave it up.
We did this when we first arrived in Tenerife six years ago. We were so busy setting up bank accounts, sorting out doctors, NIEs and buying furniture for our new home that we didn´t have time for the telly. However, after a few months things settled down and I realised that I had not had my weekly fix of Emmerdale or Corrie.
We decided that in the end it was cheaper to have our own than rent. After contacting several suppliers, we settled for CSTI in Guaza who, at that time, were the main agent and others like Premier were their sub-contractors. Having stumped up around €600 for the digi-box we thought that was it. It was 2 years later, following no TV for several days; we were advised to take our box in to be re-programmed. Before they would do this, we had to pay the annual maintenance fee of €90. As this was the first we had heard of it we owed them €180!!
After checking his records, the German guy, who I always seem to end up with, told me he had left a message on my answer-phone. Giving him the benefit of the doubt and putting the confusion down to language, I wonder who got the message as we don´t have an answer-phone. However, moving forward we paid up and like the majority of people have had nothing but bad transmissions and no maintenance.
I get cross when I phone to be told, “Unplug the box and it will reset itself”. Does this person think I am stupid? I have plugged and unplugged my box so many times if it was alive it could do it itself and it’s the first thing I do before calling. I know I am not alone in finding him obnoxious, reading various forums many women are subjected to the same treatment. I refuse to speak to him now so OH makes the calls. He never gets the ‘attitude’ maybe because he is a man and the German is a bully.
For a couple of weeks we have been receiving the annual ‘Christmas Greeting’ that now comes on our screens, telling us to take our decoder to CSTI for reprogramming. What it actually means is that unless you pay €90 for a crappy service you will be cut off. This threat coupled with the storm last week meant many people were without any TV and I felt this was my chance to see if I could really do without.
Giving up pacifiers is never easy and while my husband has given up easily, I have not. I am like a smoker without cigarettes – TV for me is a hobby, without it, I find my mind focusing on the blank magnetic box in the corner, but it is getting easier. The big test comes this evening; will I be able to watch X-Factor through my laptop? If so, that is it – no more putting up with the rude German and his strangle-hold on what we can and cannot watch. No more putting up with having to pay for bad service.
I will focus on the benefits. Watching the tube is time consuming. It is controlling, I find myself watching characters who in real life I would consider morons. I don´t want to live my life watching other people live. I have my books, my laptop, my sewing and my painting.
For many, going without television is like going without oxygen. I know people who are sick of this company and are seeking alternative ways to watch TV. I also know many who have succumbed to this threat and still, after paying don´t have all the channels but I am determined not to be one of them.
Going cold turkey isn´t easy but I am getting there, slowly maybe, but one day at a time.