A giant dish heaped high with a big serving of Trouble. That would be my new satellite dish.
When the Satellite Guy arrived on Wednesday, I was thrilled. After nine years in Africa with no TV channels to watch, soon we would have 20 - the free TNT channels on offer here in France. In most of the country, you can get them with a regular antenna. But here in the mountains, it's best to go with the satellite- so we were told by friends. So, I called up and made an appointment.
We had to wait for four weeks, but the Big Day finally arrived last Wednesday. Satellite Guy stuck one of those obnoxiously ubiquitous disks onto the side of our house, drilled a hole in the wall, strung a few wires across the living room and, as we say around here, voilà!- there were suddenly a multitude of free channels to enjoy!
When everything was hooked up, Satellite Guy took the new remote and patiently showed me the first 20 channels- There was Arte (lots of culture and good documentaries) and Gulli (a kids' channel).
Then he punched in a number. 544. There was CNN! In English!!
532. Sky News! In English!
How about 567? That's BBC World!
There were WAY more than 20 free channels!! There were hundreds!
Satellite Guy clicked past a few. Most seemed to be in Spanish, but even that seemed thrilling. Tya is taking Spanish at school! She could practise by watching tv! Satellite TV improves childrens' grades! Imagine that!
I wouldn't say I was euphoric at this point, but as my Brit pals might put it- I was pretty chuffed.
I wrote Satellite Guy a largish check, saw him out the door and then went off to make lunch. The kids were soon all home from school and after we ate, I announced that the TV was New and Improved. We then all trooped into the living room, where I proudly showed them how to turn on the decoder box and change the channels, just as Satellite Guy had shown me. They watched in awe as I clicked down the program list. It showed the current program on a little box in the right of the screen. Very High Tech for us folk recently arrived from Burkina!
I clicked past TF1, 2, 3, Canal+, 5, M6, Arte, Direct8, W9 and on down the list until I got to FranceO. After that, next on the list was Friends TV.
So JP says "What's Friends' TV?"
I said "I don't know".
And then I clicked "OK".
Suddenly all six of us: mom, dad, 15 year old daughter, 12 year old son and adorable 10 year old twins were all looking at a picture of a very buxom young lady. We could all tell she was extremely buxom because she had no shirt on.
And no pants, either.
Now, I have pretty good reflexes, honed by years of motherhood. As soon as I saw we had a sprawled naked strumpet on our hands,so to speak, I gave that remote a good, hard click. Which took us right to the next channel. Which featured yet another over-endowed, underclad blonde woman.
And the next click? Still more German porn.
Egads! hardly covered it!
What had I invited into my home?!
Further investigation (sans children!) revealed that channels 301 to 399 were almost all sites offering German porn. They each featured a photo of a naked young lady, cheesy background music and even cheesier voice-overs in German which no doubt invite the viewer to subscribe, amid all the panting and moaning.
The 400's seem to be mainly in Spanish. It mostly runs to cooking shows and soap operas. No Spanish porn on offer.
The 500's have several news channels in English. No English porn either.
I guess the German economy sustains itself by making quality cars and producing the majority of worlds' smut?
Right now I'm closely supervising TV time to prevent the kids from being scarred for life by an accidental click or an excess of curiosity. But early Wednesday, I'm having the satellite guy back to help me block the offending channels.
I originally thought we had about 300 free channels to watch. But as the vast majority of them are sleazy or Spanish, there are really only about 30. But that should be quite enough.
Then there's this:
TV will never be a serious competitor for radio because people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn't time for it. ~Author Unknown, from New York Times, 1939
And everyone in these modern days says they're so very stressed and busy, busy, busy.
And how many people do you know that say they are "too busy" to read, but somehow have hours to spend watching television? I've certainly met many.
Maybe this TV thing wasn't such a great idea after all...