Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Snow. Napping. Television.

Well, I was a fool. Yes, I know, I need to be more specific.

On Monday, I was suckered into believing spring had arrived. The ground was warming up, the sun was out, the air smelled clean and alive. I could feel the potential for heat in the air - the promise of summer coming soon. Ibegan to get the urge to do spring cleaning, and fretted about how behind I was in getting ready to plant.

So, I traipsed off to New York on the train with just a little jacket. No gloves, no nothin'. Why read the weather forecast? Please. Spring is here.

It was raining this morning when I went to class. Ah, I thought, a nice spring rain to wash away the last of the dirty snow. Of course, when I emerged from our windowless building at three in the afternoon, a blizzard was in progress.


I scurried home to the apartment, and took a long nap, listening to the howling of the wind outside. I had the TV on at a low volume, which helps me sleep when I'm not with David. I went in and out of consciousness: falling asleep during "Gilmore Girls" and waking up during something possibly called "The Starlet" ... ? This is a reality series in which the hunt is on for ... a starlet, I suppose. Faye Dunaway is there to look sagely at the quivering contestants (or contestant-lets) and deliver the Trump-esque kicker line, which is "Don't call us, we'll call you."

The flock of starlets were being judged this week on how well they performed in a lesbian kiss scene in a jacuzzi. The best seemed to be a blonde from South Africa; the worst seemed to be a Molly Ringwald-esque pixie, who was booted off the show by Ms. Dunaway and her compatriots. She really was heartbreaking as she left, reaffirming her belief in her own talents, no matter how she was judged.

I generally don't watch reality shows, especially of this kind. I think I'm one of the dozen or so people who have never watched "American Idol." Maybe it's because I see enough people risking rejection on a daily basis - writers, actors - all of whom have to come into a room and make themselves vulnerable to someone: me.


There are some reality shows that I have watched: I was passionately addicted to the first season of "Survivor"; I like the geeky PBS series like "1900 House", "Frontier House" and "Manor House"; and I watched every painful episode of "Boy Meets Boy." I can't muster up the enthusiasm to watch "Trading Spaces" anymore, when once upon a time it was the centerpiece of my weekend. I had friends who appeared on it - the infamous Doug/Hildi white room/black room episode from last year. I think my last shred of enthusiasm died there, having heard about the behind-the-scenes goings-on that were even more appalling than what made it to the screen.

After the starlet show, I dozed off again, flipping the channel occasionally in my half-awake state. I managed to grab the remote when an announcer's voice promised "a special full hour of "According to Jim." Nobody needs that.

I don't know what it is about having a mumbling TV on while I sleep that comforts me. I don't need it all the time, and I know that it's terrible feng shui to have a television in the bedroom. Still, it can be soothing.

(There's a story from the time when I had knee surgery at the age of 14: when I was brought back to my hospital room, still unconscious, the television in the room was playing an episode of "Bewitched." Apparently, when someone went to turn the set off, I said, out of the depths of my anesthetized sleep, "I'm watching that." I don't know if that actually happened, or whether it is family urban legend. But it goes to show how much I love "Bewitched.")

In my last apartment, over on the Upper West Side, for a while I was convinced I was being visited by ghosts and/or aliens who were controlling the television set. I confessed to David that, one night when I was sleeping alone there, I dreamt that the television had come on in the middle of the night, and was telling me something. I don't often have dreams I remember, so that one was a little disconcerting. It was especially unnerving that I woke up still clutching the television remote.

The next time I was sleeping alone at my apartment, the same thing took place. I was awakened at three o'clock in the morning by the television, which had apparently come on all by itself. There was some sort of infomercial on. I was freaked out. I mean, come on, I'd seen Poltergeist.

That time, I knew I wasn't dreaming. It had really happened. I couldn't explain it. Power surge? Incipient alien abduction? New marketing techniques? It was a mystery.

Finally, I was in the apartment late one night suffering from insomnia. And, bingo, at three a.m. the television blinked on. I wasn't crazy. I finally had the bright idea to play around with the various settings on the television; I knew that it had a "sleep" option, which would turn off the television after an hour or so. I discovered another option, with a misleading name that I've forgotten, which was the opposite: it would turn the TV on at a specified time, if you wanted to use it as an alarm clock. Somehow this function had been activated, meaning that the television was regularly popping on in the middle of the night. I thought of all the nights I had slept at David's; I thought of my neighbors, dealing with the sounds of the TV coming from my apartment in the dead of night.

I thought of the aliens, who weren't preparing me for their 3 a.m. arrival after all.

So tonight, the price I've paid for having a long afternoon-to-evening nap is being awake at 2:30 in the morning. The television is off. The wind is howling fiercely. The city is silent, except for an occasional police siren in the distance.

And if you listen carefully, somewhere, somewhere far off, you can hear the starlets crying.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry. The aliens are preparing you. Because in space they're going to make you turn the TV on at 3:00 every morning.

Faustus, M.D.

4:13 AM  
Blogger David said...

Don't pretend you don't want to watch television in bed when I'm around . . . the only reason you don't is because I forbid it! :)

6:02 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I've never seen a feature like that on a TV...now I'm tempted to find it and set the TV to turn on at 4 a.m. sometime when I'm gone for the weekend and my roommate is the only one home. ;-)

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

You have secret behind-the-scenes information on the famous Sex and the City loving West Hollywood girrrrl black/white episode of Trading Spaces and you just throw it out there as an aside?

I'm going to sit here and stare at you until you spill.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Hanuman1960 said...

I agree with Brian! You can't just mention something like that in passing! As I recall, the Gruesome Twosome (aka Hildi and Doug) were the designers, and Carter Oosterhouse (SIGH!) was the carpenter. Give us the dish, Crumblord!!!!!

12:06 PM  
Blogger David said...

Brian and Hanuman: Ah, but I have the SAME INFORMATION. And I'm much more likely to spill the beans, especially when provided with just a teensy bribe.

3:05 PM  
Blogger crumblord said...

Faustus: you know, that just what I suspected. I'll send you a postcard from the Orion Nebula.

Elizabeth: I think it was called something like "on/off timer" or another innocuous name. I think you could use it to turn your TV on and off if you're on vacation ... it's quite freaky. Your roommate will love it.

David: Bribes, bribes, bribes.

Brian & Hanuman: Blogging about it tomorrow.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Rindy said...

Man. The title of this entry so succinctly describes My Ideal Weekend. (And week. And perhaps month and so forth.)

And regarding the hospital room/Bewitched story, I was there, and that's exactly how I remember it happening. The funny thing was that I wasn't at all surprised. 'Well, of course, his cerebral cortex is watching Bewitched.'

6:43 PM  
Blogger That one chick said...

New to this site I just randomly was clicking the blogger links and found it, won't you please share your inside info on Trading spaces?????

6:53 PM  

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