I think back to how it used to be. It would be dark and quiet but for the lights and sounds from the TV. We would have made ourselves comfy on the couch and for the next hour we would immerse ourselves into the imaginary lives of cops and criminals. We wouldn’t say a word lest we missed a dialogue. Sometimes we would barely blink lest we missed any action. When the ads would come on we would excitedly discuss the show. What did he mean when he said tell me about it? Do you think they are going to find out where the safe is? And then back to the show. An hour of worship. No calls would be entertained. God forbid an uninvited guest.
It was a Sunday tradition we both carried from our childhood to our adult life. As children Sunday night was when the family would gather around the TV and watch the only channel on air. No one complained on the dearth of quality. . With no real competition there was not much of a need for the programs to strive for a high quality. But we didn’t complain. As far as we were concerned any TV was good TV.
There were other shows we watched, not as religiously and not as a team. I teased her on all the reality TV she watched and she sighed whenever I switched to a sports channel. Regardless of what was on we still shared the moment together. Even in silence we communicated by exchanging glances when the plot took an unbelievably stupid turn.We both built an implicit code of what was good TV. After all we had so many choices, we didn’t need to settle on anything that didn’t meet our entertainment standards.
I watched gangster movies and she watched chick flicks, both of us living vicariously through the characters on the screen. Every evening it took our minds away from the humdrum of our real lives. Transported ourselves to a world where life lessons were learned, justice was meted out and conflicts were resolved in the span of an hour.
I am seated on the couch by myself. More often than not these days I find myself seated on the couch by myself. The ads come on and I switch channels because I am an entertainment junkie. If I end up watching ads then I feel I have wasted time. The irony of it all.
There is a game show with a scantily clad hostess. I don’t care for the show but I eagerly wait for the camera to capture her every curve. Once I have satisfied my carnal need to picture her nude I am done and move on to the next channel.
I finally get up to go to bed. As I pass the study I see her slumped on a chair. The laptop in front of her is still playing a show she was watching. It’s just that now the light from it dances on her shut eyes. I look at the laptop with mixed emotions and crave for the simpler times where TV was not ‘on demand’ or even with these many programming options. But the moment passes. The show looks interesting. I fire up my laptop.