Back in the 1970’s when I was teaching in a one-room school located in a very isolated logging camp, we had no television or radio reception, so on those rare occasions when we left the camp and stayed in a motel in a urban area, we quickly turned on the television when we entered the room, to see what was on. If we were lucky, the motel would have a movie channel and we could watch some movies.
When I quit teaching in the one-room school and we moved out of the camp and into a community that had television reception, usually the reception was just one channel, CBC. They sometimes showed movies, but not very often, so it was still a treat to be in a motel room that had HBO or another movie channel that we could watch. Eventually, McBride, where we had sunken our roots and bought house, expanded the number of television stations it had, and among the several stations, was a movie channel, so we were able to watch a lot of films on TV.
In the 1980’s with the rise of the VCR (video tape recorder), suddenly we could rent movies and choose the films we wanted to watch. Watching video movies at home or at friends’ houses became an important social event and something that happened a couple of times a week.
At the same time this was happening, I started to realize that whenever we had the occasion to stay at a motel room, a quick scan of the television stations showed there was not much available there that I really wanted to watch. Then after a few decades, when the internet and WiFi became common, for me, those motel television sets became less and less relevant.
Last week when I was hold up in a motel room, I did scan the channels on our room’s TV, but quickly gave up. The channels available were horrible. At home, where I have satellite TV, I mostly watch PBS, TCM, HBO, or one of several available movie channels. In my quick scan of the motel TV Channels, I didn’t see any of them, so the television stayed off for the rest of my motel time and I passed the time either by reading the novel I had brought, or going to websites on my iPad.
For me, the once very important motel TV, has now become just another piece of motel furniture.
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