Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

The other day I had the rare treat of being home alone. I always cherish those moments of solitude, as they don’t come often. I found myself at a loss for what to do. The world was mine! Well not the world, but the living room was mine!

Should I read? Should I write? Sleep? Make food that no one else likes? Dance naked? No. Those are good choices but not great. This is rare so it must be something special, something just for me. So, I did what many intellectual women in their 30s do in secret, but dare never admit…I watched me some E! Channel!

Say what you will about those skanky Kardashians, but I can’t get enough of them. I realize my Feminazi membership card will probably be revoked over this, but I think it’s important I be honest about it. You need to know you’re not alone. I checked the DVR to see what other guilty pleasures awaited, and was delighted to find the Season 2 Premiere of Ice Loves Cocoa.

Does the fact that I've watched Law & Order: SVU religiously for years redeem me in your intellectual eyes? Oh good.
I got cozy on the couch with a cup of coffee and an odd feeling came over me. No, it wasn’t my IQ slipping away (although I admit a case could be made for that.) It was something else.It took me a minute to realize what it was. As Cocoa smiled at the camera with her striking bleach blonde hair, it hit me: the last time I overdosed on cheesy reality TV, I was in rehab. (No, not sexy rock star rehab, the other one: old folks’ home rehab.)

If you’ve been in the hospital, you know that entertainment is hard to come by. The TV is typically just plain awful. If you’re lucky, you’ll get 1 – maybe 2 – cable channels that aren’t news-related. (Who wants to forget their troubles watching political debates or bombings in the Middle East? Sorry world sufferers, hospital time is all about me.) The main hospital had the History Channel and a flat-screen plasma TV which was awesome. Perhaps they invested more in that unit since it was part of the ICU, and they knew those of us who were unfortunate to be there wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon. (Which is also morbidly ironic considering most patients were paralyzed or in comas.) Rehab, however, did not have the fancy amenities. I had a little TV that hung right in front of my face from a long metal arm on the wall. There was no remote. It hung so close to my face, the buttons were on the unit itself. I hated those buttons. They were stiff and almost impossible to push. I was paralyzed so I had to somehow hold it in place and hit those damn stiff buttons all with my left hand just to change the channel or adjust the volume. 

I stole this pic from my rehab facility's website. I stole for authenticity, as this is exactly what my room looked like.

I realize that sounds whiny. Consider this: I was away from my family for 22 days. I had 3 hours of physical and occupational therapy, mandatory meal times, and the rest of the day to sleep or stare at the wall. When you have that much downtime, you begin to cherish what little glimpse of the outside world you have. I developed a love-hate relationship with that TV. As much as I fantasized about getting my strength back so I could punch out the screen with my bare fist, it was also a great source of comfort and connection for me. There were nights my husband would call and we’d stay on the phone while we both tuned into the same channel. It’s so much more fun to laugh when you’re not laughing alone.

There were 3 shows that came on every day, which meant I often watched the same episode more than once: Ice Loves Cocoa, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and The Voice. Those shows are all back again with new seasons. (OK purists, technically not Kardashians but their spin-off shows are back.) It’s just TV. Stupid, unintelligent TV at that. Yet every time I see a preview or am alone for 30 minutes to tune in, it feels surreal to watch from my own couch this time. I can’t explain why. People say that certain sounds or smells can transport them back to another time. I suppose that is what I’m experiencing.

It’s been nine months exactly today. Nine months since I was sent by ambulance for my extended medical stay. It feels bizarre to say that. It feels like forever ago and just yesterday all at the same time. Maybe that’s why seeing these shows again freaks me out. It’s certainly a reality check that this much time has passed.

If you’re at all concerned about my taste in TV, you may be comforted to know I got a Kindle over the holidays. I don’t watch much TV anymore, but when I do it’s mind-numbingly FAB-U-LOUS. Like seriously, I need me a Soulgee.

Soulgee: Fabulous sidekick extraordinaire


  1. seriously, where's my soulgee? i've just started watching that show when i'm at the gym. watching terrible tv is my reward for treadmill time. now i plan my visits around what's on cable.

    congrats on 9 months! you'll always be a kid compared to me.

  2. I am also a closet reality TV whore. I get super sad when a season of Jersey Shore ends. Don't tell anyone! Glad to hear your doing well Angie. I know it's been a long road.