Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Addiction Development

I can be impulsive. And forgetful. Maybe even a little obsessive. I might fall in like with a television series during the premier episode, then forget it ever existed before the next episode a week later. I can watch a day-long marathon of an entire season and not recognize the show's title if someone asked me about it the next day.

In my 'normal life' -- the one that I lived all the way up until October 22, 2011 when I sustained a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula in my left leg -- I rarely watched TV. I was on the go constantly, zipping between a full-time job, roller derby practice, derby marketing committee work that often consumed as many hours as a part-time job, taking care of Moose and sort of taking care of the house, and spastically bouncing between belly dance workshops, photography, writing, jewelry design and fabrication, occasional sewing of dance costumes, and far too many hours on the computer playing Scrabble and wasting time on facebook. It was a lot, but probably not as much as my friends with husbands and kids. The time I don't spend maintaining romantic and familial relationships is more self-absorbed time for me. It's a swell life. Really. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

After leg surgery at 1:00 am on October 23, I was checked in to a lovely hospital room. It had a pair of unmatched curtains that circled the bed for "privacy" and simultaneously blocked the view of the clock and the postage-stamp sized TV mounted on the wall. The TV was so small it was impossible to read the station ID, news crawls, sports scores or any other text that may be posted during a show. It was really fun when I was watching a show and the staff would draw my curtain to provide privacy for the person coming into or out of the room from the next bed and then neglect to re-open them, cutting me off from all stimulus and information in the room, and most importantly, the tiny TV.

The hospital drugs were great at blocking pain, and when combined with a steady stream of staff taking my blood pressure and temperature hourly, pretty much ensured I was wiped out and sleeping a lot. I couldn't hold my eyes open enough to read a book or magazine and could barely remain awake when visitors stopped in. The hospital time is mostly a fuzzy blur punctuated with panicked moments of losing my phone in the bedsheets that had been removed because my incision had drained through the dressings and all over the bed, and the heart-pounding moments of hobbling with the walker a full two feet to the bedside commode while being humbled by needing a nurse's assistance to pee.

After leaving the hospital, I was lodged at my friend Wendy's for a week, set up in her son's room and queen of the couch -- leg elevated on a pile of towels, watching regular TV and on-demand runs of entire seasons of shows. Wendy has great cable, with lots of movie channels and the ability to save shows and view on demand, sharply contrasting with my cheap one-step-above-basic package.

In four weeks convalescing at my own home, I have watched more TV than in the full four years leading up to now. We're talking marathons of Project Runway, Project Accessory, The Sopranos, America's Next Top Model and Millionaire Matchmaker, almost all of which made me cry at some point, due to feeling like a giant raw nerve. There were at least two solid weeks of daily doses of a different season of Project Runway (3:00) and On the Road with Austin and Santino (4:30). These are in addition to the movies. I decided to make a list of all the movies I watched during my home recovery incarceration that I could recall. The list currently stands at 21 movies, including 3 DVDs from my meager video holdings. At approximately two hours per movie, that is a few hours of staring at a box. The TV veiwing would begin daily within five minutes of clocking out of the company laptop remote desktop time clock. Weekends are free-for-all during my waking hours.

And since Thanksgiving night, my eyeballs have been exposed to something I have not only avoided watching for most of my adult life but actually ridiculed and mocked -- Christmas movies. Sappy, hopeful, tear-jerking, freeking Christmas movies where cranky, crotchedy, often childless working females (hmmm... sounds like me) always find true love on Christmas Eve and no later than Christmas Day. My previous aversion to the genre makes what has happened recently even more surprising. I have watched (i.e. cried through) at least eight Christmas-themed movies in five days. The only one that didn't pull a tear was Scrooged, probably because I was also reading email while that one was on.

This new affinity comes as a great shock to me. Since moving to Tennessee, where I have spent maybe three Christmases in my own home in ten years, I have not been much of a Christmas person. While I have an attic full of decorations, accumulated from decades of ceiling scraping trees in New England homes, I usually don't up put any decoratios any more. Really, why bother? My life is different, and I am usually elsewhere on Christmas, enjoying someone else's decorations and traditions. Decorating my house is just a bunch of work on my end that nobody else will see. And this year I can't actually get into the attic on my own. Asking for help is out of the question, as I am very particular about my decorations. I am afraid whoever might be helping would want to kill me.

When I realized I was trolling the channel guide consciously seeking Christmas movies and making mental notes about upcoming premier presentations on Hallmark and Lifetime, I panicked. It occurred to me that this thing is starting to feel like some sort of addiction. This may require an intervention. Or medication. Or my own Christmas miracle.

No comments:

Post a Comment