We had almost a quarter of a century together… before she went away. She was loving, kind, attentive. Now, that’s all gone.
And to make it worse she isn’t even far away. Just sitting on the couch, staring straight ahead for hours and hours. Not moving.
Yes, my lovely wife has become… a Binge Watcher.
She used to spend most nights either doing that day’s New York Times crossword puzzle or, more likely, curled up with a good book. Soon as she’d finish one, she pick up a new one.
Maybe that should have warned me… that she was a serial reader. I mean, book after book after book. And not trashy ones. But, I couldn’t see that books were just a “gateway” drug for more kinetic entertainment.
Oh, together we had watched most of the new quality cable shows that sprung up like weeds after The Sopranos (Blessed be Tony). Until recently, she had a few shows that were important to her. She’d try to catch the initial showings of Game of Thrones or Dexter or Mad Men. I think it all started when Netflix released House of Cards all at once. We watched a few together (smart writing, love Spacey/Wright), but then I found she was watching more without me! The temptation had been put there.
Yeah, sure, I felt cheated on. Who wouldn’t? But I tried to write it off as a silly fling. Nothing more serious than that.
Still, she announced one day, after finishing HoC in a few sittings, that she was going to watch Mad Men from Season One, Episode One, and at HER pace. No more waiting for hubby to join in. I forgave her behavior this time as she was a late arrival to Mad Men, not having seen much more than the last two seasons.
It was odd, nonetheless, to find her, every night after dinner, heading into the Family Room and remaining there, glued to the set. Till long after her normal bedtime.
Occasionally, I would stick my head in to see how she was doing. She would abruptly pause whatever episode she was on, look up at me, (not entirely happily) and say: “What do you want?” I’d try to convey that I missed not being with her. Her reply: “I’m watching my show” with a tone that left me no doubt who had the priority here.
Night after night, show after show, season after season, she pulled further and further away from me… and our son. Poor kid.
I had a shocking realization one day: I hadn’t seen her reading a BOOK in weeks! She had stopped, cold turkey.
Now I knew I was dealing with something more troublesome than a simple pastime. She had moved into consecutively watching series after series. At the conclusion of her Mad Men sessions, as I feared, she announced that her next commitment would be… Breaking Bad. This was the show people, including our sons, would always tell us: “Oh, you’ve got to watch this! It’s SO good.”
I myself had even previously watched a few episodes of Season One but, for some reason, it just didn’t “catch” with me. And my wife had never tried. But now, with her new love affair with the TV, she committed. And has been there every night. Drug deal after drug deal. I think the only thing she may have said to me yesterday was: “I’m starting Season Four,” with a big, self-satisfied grin on her face.
I mean, I guess I’m glad that I at least know where she is… as she’s cheating on me. And I still look in on her every once in a while, though I try not to let her see me. You only want to be rejected so many times.
What’s next for us? It’s hard to say, but I fear I’m going to be cast aside once again — by an even more damaging substitute. This time it’ll be McNulty, Bunk and Omar. And what can I say to keep her from going? She knows The Wire is arguably(?) the best show that’s ever been on TV. I’ve told her many times. And now I hate myself for ever mentioning it.
Thanks, original cable programming. Take my wife. Please.