Thursday, September 14, 2006

i am now a respectable member of society again

Every time I see my Uncle Bob, he starts—with almost no provocation or introduction— to recount episodes of various British sitcoms.

“Did you see that episode of The Bucket Woman where Hyacinth’s doorbell was broken and—”

The show is not really called The Bucket Woman. That’s just Uncle Bob’s nickname for it, and I’m not entirely sure why, because I haven’t ever seen the show. My answer (and the answer of almost everyone present) is, “No, sorry, didn’t catch that one.”

For the past ten months, my answer has been, “No, sorry, I don’t have a TV.”

And it’s weird how much it feels like an actual apology. Every time I admit that I don’t have a TV, I feel the need to explain that it’s not that I don’t like TV or think I’m better than TV—I’m just so lazy that I haven’t bothered buying a table or shelf to support the various TVs that have been offered to me like wheels of government cheese.

It’s gotten to the point that a few friends and family members will ask, in exasperated voices, “Do you still not have a TV?” The implication is that I’ve failed to meet some sort of social obligation, or that I have cooties, probably patchouli-scented ones.

My sister leads the pack of TV harassers. It usually comes up when I mention MySpace or my blog, which she sees as big time-wasters that get in the way of watching Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of “Three’s Company.”

At which point I’ll say, “Did you get that email I sent you?”

And she’ll say, “Um, no….”

And I’ll say, “Do you still only have really slow NetZero dial-up and also never check your email at work?”

A few people mentioned that I could probably at least watch DVDs on my laptop, but for some reason this option didn’t sink in until the other night when AK and I watched the first two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy at Meg’s place on her laptop.

It really could work! One could even invite people over to watch something! It was technologically feasible and socially acceptable to watch DVDs on one’s computer!

And so last night, after a long day of reading reading reading that demanded the sweet relief of non-text-based narrative, I went to my Local Independent Video Store and signed up for a membership.

I almost immediately regretted my decision to go with the Local Independent because A) it’s not all that local and took a while to get to, and B) I would be embarrassed to indulge my not-all-that-occasional desire to see movies that involve makeover scenes and/or dance numbers in front of clerks who were clearly in the midst of film MFAs. Suddenly I missed my old Local Semi-Independent, where the staff played really violent and foul-mouthed movies at top volume as small children ran around the store with copies of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in their hands.

Fuck, I thought, I’m so tired and lazy, but now I’m going to have to rent something respectable.

Luckily I landed upon Transamerica, which I actually wanted to see (arguably a sex change is the ultimate makeover, although to its credit this movie wasn’t really into the visual gags). To make it a fully indulgent night, I stopped at the McDonald’s drive-thru window and got a filet-o-fish and a chocolate shake (and I know that’s a disgusting combination; I know filet-o-fish on its own is disgusting, but that’s the whole point of an evening in by yourself).

Transamerica turned out to be a funny and lovely movie that hit all the right notes, just like all the respectable people promised.

8 comments:

Claire said...

Maybe netflix would be the way to go. I've yet to indulge in it myself but it would solve the looking-respectable-in-front-of-clerks issue.

And, of course, the iTunes store has started selling movies in addition to their growing tv selection.

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

Not to rub it in, but the one where Hyacinth's doorbell is broken is HYSTERICAL!

Cheryl said...

Claire: It is tempting. I'm sort of easing myself into this whole movie-watching thing, though. I don't know if I'm ready for a monthly-fee committment. Then I'd feel like I had movie-watching homework (which is why I don't have TiVo too).

Sara: Knowing you, you're probably not even kidding.

Tracy Lynn said...

Netflix rocks. You could start at the 5.99 a month, which you probably spent last night renting Transamerica, a movie I have been DYING to see.

Anyway, you can try it free, and free is the very best thing ever.

thelastnoel said...

I don't have a TV either. Maybe that's why I've been so serene lately. I do watch TV. I usually make it over to Mom's once a week to watch Project Runway (and maybe do a little laundry.)

erin said...

netflix is the best invention ever. we got it when we moved (since we canceled our directv and only get 4 channels via our antenna) and i love it. the only way it could be better is if they had porn in their inventory. now there's a time you really don't want to deal with the clerks' reactions to your rentals.

Bonnie said...

I will join the group of people worried that you don't have a TV. I also definitely recommend Netflix, and I also have a DVR (my cable company's version of Tivo). I'm not even really that ashamed that TV watching is such an important part of my life. I'll sleep easier once I know you have a TV, so please let me know when it happens.

Cheryl said...

You're all being paid by Netflix, aren't you?

Noel: Folding laundry and watching TV at my dad's house is a regular activity in my life. The family that mooches off each other's appliances together, stays together.