Harry S. Truman famously said that he was incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. During one of the hours of the four hour extravaganza premiere of 24 this season the bitchy boss lady, playing type by the same actress who played the bitchy boss lady on La Femme Nikita, said to one of her minions that she expected her to walk and chew gum at the same time when said minion was complaining about everything she was supposed to do.
Walking and chewing gum at the same time? Easy. Sorry, Mr. Dead Former President.
The problem I'm having is watching, reading, comprehending said text, and carrying on a conversation at the same time.
Let me back track a little. There has been of course a multitude of technology that has been good to television. TiVo particularly being one, which I cannot afford. I would kill to have TiVo. I also don't have a VCR that records. When I say that most people look at me in shock, and ask, "Are you sure?" Yeah, like I have been all over that looking for the stupid record button like an ant at a picnic, fuckers! It's been passed on from my great-uncle to my mother, to well, me. All I needed was VHS capability for the tapes I'd bought over the years so they wouldn't be obsolete.
This fact may need to change because the new season of the L Word is gearing up, and I just don't think that I can wait again for almost a full year to watch the episodes again. My sister's friend taped the season and sent them to her on tape, and she doesn't even have a VCR. I gave my sister money when I visited last summer so she would mail them to me so I could catch up on the episodes that I missed as I jumped on the L Word train much too late. Shockingly, I haven't seen the tapes yet. I also haven't seen the money again yet. My sister now has digital cable and Showtime, and still no VCR, so there will most definitely not be any tapes of the new season. I really digress this time.
The other less fabulous but free technology available if you've bought your TV in the last decade is the closed-captioning running across the bottom of your screen when the TV is on mute. Which is rather helpful and a pain. Especially when I’ll have the TV on mute when I’m trying convince myself I’m really studying and reading and I’ll find myself 15 minutes later still reading the closed-captioning.
Here’s the thing. As much as I love to read, and I mean I read multiple hours a day about TV as well, I can’t say I’m not obsessed with TV. Watching TV is my easy entertainment break while studying, and it’s my easy escape from stress and a long day. Plus? Some shows totally make me laugh out loud which is always a good thing. This would seemingly be not much of a problem, other than of course, losing some serious studying time once in awhile. Okay. Sometimes. Okay, okay. Often. I have at least one show an evening I have a weakness for, plus the Golden Girls repeats. Just can’t enough of them.
The second part of this predicament is that many of my closest friends do not live nearby and so when they call I need to pick up the phone and talk to them. Okay, need is a strong word because obviously I do enjoy speaking with them, and it’s rude to leave the television blaring in the background if someone calls. There are a few key shows where I do ask people to call back later such as Desperate Housewives usually, most often The OC, and my 10pm Showtime shows. Except, really, who the fuck watches Huff? Abso-fricken-lutely no one! I watch bad shows sometimes, but even I couldn’t latch on to that one, and I’m totally Showtime’s bitch. I fully admit to that.
Most often I will put my TV on mute and start chit-chatting with my friends. Except if CBF calls and then we usually watch the shows together snarking with running commentary and overall just enjoying ourselves. I mean it’s often the closest we can get to actually hanging out. Usually though I turn the TV to mute, and so the closed-captioning with pop up at the bottom and I’ll try and watch, read, and more importantly process what I’m reading whilst talking or listening to my friend on the phone. It is really bloody difficult though. It’s like those mass-emails you get where there are mind tricks and you’re supposed to read the word ‘red’ but it’s written in green and you want to say green. It’s really difficult to read and talk at the same exact time.
Most often my friends are able to tell, especially Stretch, who is going to kill me for using that nickname for her, but I was watching a Golden Girls repeat this morning and it’s just going to stick for the moment. Stretch will usually totally call me out on it, “Karen, are you reading your TV again!” I of course vehemently deny it and will stop reading a few moments to concentrate and will sometimes go back to reading before she totally fucking calls me out on it again.
Last night my friend called me during Scrubs which I think is fucking fabulous and which most of my friends think is annoying, and Colin Farrell was guesting, because he is friends with Zach Braff, what??? And of course who is a total Dirty! Hottie! Definitely a walking disease but so fucking bad-boy hot. I knew though if I told my friend to call me back later she would have totally flipped out, and probably retired me from the wedding which wouldn’t have been so horrible but…I put the TV on mute. I was desperately trying to keep up with the quick dialogue and storylines and I totally missed a piece of juicy gossip from my friend and suddenly I was all, “He did WHAT to your sister?” After that I had to read for a minute, take a minute break, read for a minute. It was actually the best I had ever done so far. Okay. That might be because I really only read the ending monologue by Zach Braff. At least there was juicy gossip involved and it had been a little while since we had chit-chatted. The last time we were both hung-over so it wasn’t that great of a conversation.
Friend: “My head hurts. I feel awful.” Me: “Yeah my stomach feels like shit and I feel woozy.” Friend: “Yeah? I think I’m going to order Chinese tonight.” Me: “Awesome. Me too.”
Why can’t I be able to watch, read, comprehend, AND carry on a conversation at the same time?
Those are multi-tasking skills Mr. Dead Former President. Sorry. Though I guess it’s applicable to the incumbent as well.
My friends are never going to fucking call me again, are they?