It sat there, not ominous or inimical, but mysterious. The TV. I’ve moved in with a roommate to save some money this year and to shed my old barrio. My roommate has a TV big enough for the front room.
I’ve only owned a tiny set, so small it fits in the cabinet of a standup wardrobe in my bedroom. I hate television, and until now I’d contained it, imprisoned it in a cell so small it’s almost unentertaining. I just use it for background noise and a mind-numbing cocktail.
Mostly I kept the TV for girls. One liked paranormal shows — ghosts and things. Two of them liked sports — football, mostly. One liked programs about prisons and programs about cooking (of all the damned things). I liked Heroes until the writing went bad. I watched 30 Rock until the strike last year.
Before my move, I’d sit down, open the cabinet door, flip through a couple stations, and after five minutes shut it down with a discontented grumble. Now that I’ve moved in with Jen, my little television sits cold in my room, and her living-room-size TV sits out in the open; you can see it from the front door.
It occupied a spot on the floor while we moved, and I eyed it with suspicion. On its glossy black glass, our reflections moved and flashed, carrying boxes, hanging art. It never switched on and bit me on the leg as I imagined it would. I regarded it as a dangerous thing; I’d cut a wide lane around it as I walked.
On our first night in the new place, Jen said, “Let’s go have some drinks.” We walked to the glitzy lights and broken-glass sidewalks of University and Park. We wandered a few blocks, stopping for wine here (white then red); a pitcher of beer there (cheap, watery American lager, tasty and cold to the last of it).
We burst back into the new place, laughing. There was the TV, a short monolith in the center of the room. Now that I was drunk, I wasn’t sure if I hated it or wanted it there.
Sensing my unease with the big TV set, Jen said, “Here, this is cool.”
She set down a DVD player and fished for wires in the dust and wadded-up tape of packing boxes. Sitting back and aiming the remote, she fired it up, and across the screen galloped a title: Blazing Saddles.
WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK
Thursday, October 30
Star Wars Tech
History 4:00 p.m.
My new place has a dishwasher, my first one ever. I’ve kicked the tires a little bit, but I’m still not sure what sort of voodoo I’m inviting into my home by using it, so I haven’t turned it on. Mostly, I’ve just stared at it and wondered if it would ruin my lightsaber.
CW 9:00 p.m.
Doesn’t this show feel like a temporary fix for something that you swear you’ll replace when you get the money? Two years later, you come to terms with the fact that you’re just going to drive around with a boombox in the passenger seat until you sell the damned car.
Friday, October 31
If Walls Could Talk
HG 5:00 p.m.
I’ve never peed in a bathroom that wasn’t made a little cozier by leaving the door open about halfway. I have to remember I’m not living alone anymore. Yesterday I was leaning against the sink, arched back, and groaning when, from the hallway, I heard, “Uh, dude?”
Saturday, November 1
San Diego 6 In the Morning Weekend
CW 8:00 a.m.
Ugh. I woke up with the Smiths song “Panic” stuck in my head. All day I’m going to be singing, “Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ!” Damn you, Morrissey! Why do you have to have such a sickly sensitive, haunting, Kermit-y voice? Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ... SHOOT ME!
The Ultimate Fighter
Spike 10:00 p.m.
As a fight fan, I watched a few episodes last season, but this year I don’t have the interest. I realized if I wanted to watch drunks get into fistfights and smash furniture, I’d spend more time with my family during the holidays.
Sunday, November 2
TLC 9:00 p.m.
I’m not sure about purity, but I know mine sprinkle glitter when you shake ’em, and they cast rainbows instead of a shadow.
Monday, November 3
CNBC 12:00 p.m.
There’s one advantage of being nearly destitute — I don’t have to watch my stocks swirl further down the bog. My only investments are commemorative Slurpee cups, and nothing (nothing!) will devalue those. Who’s laughing now, Mr. Paulson? It’s certainly not The Goonies!
Tuesday, November 4
2008 Election Night
NBC 8:00 p.m.
Oh, sweet merciful maple syrup, thank you, Abraham Lincoln, this awful three-year-long campaign is over. It’s like the finish line at my fifth-grade track meet. I’m sweaty, my feet hurt, and I don’t care who wins as long as I get to eat pizza and look at Christie Graham’s bra strap while she plays Ms. Pacman.
Wednesday, November 5
CW 9:00 p.m.
So, there is a Santa Claus. All year I’ve been good, and I’ve written my pleas to the North Pole: Dear Saint Nicholas, please, please, please send me an irrelevant TV show about trendy, no-talent, ass-drags competing for something nobody cares about. Thank you, Santa. Your friend forever, Ollie.
Thursday, November 6
The Black Carpet
BET 7:30 p.m.
Heh. Pubes. Heh.