Torn Between Two Shows

I am so torn right now I don’t know what to do. As I write this, I have less than 10 hours to decide whether I’m going to watch the season’s second episode of The Office or the vice presidential debate.

I know what you’re thinking: Doesn’t she have TIVO?

No, she doesn’t.

I’m not remorseful, either. I’ve always been so far behind on any technology that my husband doesn’t buy for me, set up, program for me, give me a brief tutorial, and then take away any lower-tech alternatives and lock me in the bedroom for 24 hours so that I’m forced to learn to use it.

When I was growing up, my mom didn’t have a clothes dryer for many years. She hung clothes up on a clothesline outside, which was quite an experience for me as a first- through fifth-grader at Roosevelt School. We lived on the corner right across the street from the school, so our back yard was directly across from the school playground. Every day at recess we would spill out the gym doors into the playground, only to see my mom’s and sisters’ bras hanging on the line. In the winter she hung clothes on a clothesline in our cellar, which is also where the dog pooped and my brother skinned the animals he trapped and hunted.

But I remember my mom often saying she didn’t need a clothes dryer. She was perfectly happy to be clipping bras and underpants to a line while stepping over Jenny’s turds and with possum skins hanging inside-out to dry.

It was that piece of my DNA that came shining through when I told my mother-in-law that I didn’t want a microwave two years after I was married. The Fitzpatricks don’t share my happy-to-be-unhappy, martyr-ish life philosophy. My sisters-in-law scoffed at me and talked about me behind my back. My mother-in-law was so bothered by the fact that she wasn’t allowed to buy me a microwave that she bought me a “micro cooker” which was a microwave.

“I did not buy you a microwave,” she said when I opened the envelope with the picture of what I was getting. She and my husband are solely responsible for the fact that I don’t live in a cave and speak Latin.

So, no, I don’t have TiVO. I’m probably even spelling it wrong. In order to watch two shows that are on at the same time, I would fall back on the ancient technology of the VCR, but I don’t think our vintage VCR made the cut when we moved. I remember throwing out a bunch of black, boxy things with cords. I have no idea what they were but one was probably the VCR that no one ever used. Plus I think the government has made VCR use obsolete. I’m pretty sure I saw a commercial announcing that.

On one hand I don’t want to miss a second of my favorite show, The Office. Jim and Pam are engaged! Dwight and Angela are having hot sex in the stockroom! Several times a day! Holly’s weirdness has only begun to poke through the surface, but any week now it could come bursting out like an evil clown jack-in-the-box! This is no time to be relying on reruns.

On the other hand, this vice presidential debate has the potential to be the most entertaining thing since the Checkers speech. Not that I won’t see the same key clips over and over again on MSNBC, but I like to see things for myself.

My husband claims he’s going to watch the debate. The kids are leaning toward The Office. I may be able to run back and forth between the study and the family room and watch most of both. Factoring in commercials and the family's effective method of announcing “IT’S ON!,” it’s quite possible I could do this without anything more high-tech than a pair of good running shoes.

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