My husband has been joining me for walks, late in the day when we get home from work, just before sunset. Around 4:30 on Sunday we decide to take a walk at Wakodahatchee Wetlands. We are certain the bird activity will be even more awesome at that time of day.
An empty nest is a mixed blessing. It’s nice to be alone with your husband once again but sometimes you have to ask yourself, is this the same guy I met when I was 24? Here we are in a strange two bedroom apartment in the strange state of Florida, figuring that out. I am pondering the age old question, who the hell is this guy I married?
I hate watching TV with him. He’s frenetic, always channel surfing, cruising around. I like to find one show and nest with it, but the Olympics are on. We settle in together for a rare night of TV viewing. He’s on the couch, I get the coveted recliner.We start with a Western. My husband loves westerns.
Gary Cooper to Rita Hayworth: “Could I borrow your tequila bottle? I have to draw a boil?”
Me: “Is that his pickup line? He has to draw a boil? What is this movie?”
Husband: “They Came to Cordova. I think the guy’s got saddle sores.”
Me: “Seriously? At least the scenery is nice. It looks like the Wind River Indian Reservation we drove through last May.”
“Huh?” my husband asks, while Gary Cooper is doing something to the boil on the other guy’s ass.
I get up to get a glass of wine, returning to a campfire scene. “We have this in our favor, darkness and the element of surprise,” one of the cowboys says. I grab paper and pen and start taking notes. I feel a blog coming on. The room is dark. My husband likes to watch TV in the dark. I am writing in the dark.
“That’s Dick York,” he says, pointing to one of the cowboys.
“Dick York?” I ask.
“Yes, Bewitched. You remember Bewitched? It’s Darin.”
“Oh right,” I say, writing down all these actors’ names while he channel surfs. “What are we watching now?”
“Nirvana, Live.” We like watching music shows. Live at Daryl’s House is one our favorites. Daryl Hall. You know? Hall and Oates.
Critiquing the band who put Seattle grunge on the map, he says, “I don’t know about Kurt Cobain. He plays the same note over and over.”
“I really like that MTV Unplugged thing he did,” I say.
“Yeah, me too. Look at the bass player. He holds the guitar at his knees like he doesn’t like to bend his arms.”
The band rolls into Come As You Are. We both agree we like this song. Kurt Cobain’s shoulder length hair covers his face.
For some reason I begin to find everything absurd. I can’t stop laughing. I point this out to my husband. “Maybe it was the mushrooms on the pizza,” he says.
“Is Kurt ever going to get his hair off his face?” I ask.
“No, he won’t. Do you notice he plays lefty? There are not a lot of lefty guitar players out there.” Dramatic pause. “Jimi Hendrix was a lefty.”
I am laughing hysterically, maybe because I am taking notes on this mundane conversation in the dark. I slide out of the recliner without kicking back the leg rest and go to the bedroom to get a notepad and make sure the notes I’ve already taken are legible. When I return we are back to Cordova. They have taken care of the boil.
“No way. Can we please go to the Olympics?” I ask.
Ice dancing appears on the screen. “Oh shit,” he moans, but surprisingly he doesn’t surf away. Instead he says, “This chick is gorgeous. I’ve seen her before.” I don’t give him shit about this because Saturday morning I was crushing on T.J. Oshie, the smoking hot American hockey player.
Then suddenly we’re watching Anthony Bourdain in Morocco. We’ve seen this show before. A guy is making a potato omelette. We both agree, once again, we want to go to Morocco. Not because of the potato omelette.
“Let’s go back to the Olympics.” I am really feeling the need to nest.
The two man bobsled is underway.
“I don’t understand this sport,” I say. “What is the number two guy doing besides crouching down and sticking his head against the other guy’s ass?”
“He’s steering. Be quiet and just watch.” He rewinds, a thing that amazes me. How can he rewind live TV? I have not had enough possession of the remote to learn this new technology.
“How does he know when to break when he can’t see anything, crouched down like that in the other guy’s ass?” My husband turns to me with a look of annoyance on his face. “I just don’t get this sport,” I say. “Like the spider thing the other night. How can they steer with their arms by their sides?”
“They use their foot,” he says.
“I never see their foot moving.”
“Because they’re doing eighty miles an hour.”
The TV screen seems to be doing eighty miles an hour. We’re now watching an Esurance commercial, three women complaining about something. It’s insurance, what’s not to complain about? My head is spinning. I am laughing again, about what, I don’t know. I begin to seriously think the hippie place where we bought the pizza was using special mushrooms.
“That woman was in Sideways,” my husband says.
“His mother, in Sideways, the one he steals the money from.”
“Oh yeah,” I agree, only because I remember the scene from the movie but I don’t really recognize the Esurance lady. Next is the Carnival Cruise commercial with the four boys heading off down the water slide. “Hard to believe they just met yesterday.” “A run for the ages.”
“I like this commerical,” I say, but we are off to another channel. Suddenly we’re on HGTV. Beachfront Bargain Hunt. “Where is St. Simons Island?” my husband asks.
“Georgia,” I reply.
“I don’t want to live in Georgia,” he says. I’m still writing in the dark. I look up to see we are now watching Food Truck Face Off. “Stay here. We want to own a food truck, remember? We could learn something,” I say.
“They’re making chow-chow. What the hell is that?” he scoffs. The woman who owns the truck is crying. “Cook something people want to eat instead of something in a pancake,” my husband shouts at the crying food truck lady. I’m getting dizzy. Did I miss something? Is she serving chow-chow in a pancake? What is chow-chow?
“I’m not learning anything from this,” he says. We are off again. Is that what he’s searching for? Knowledge? Now it’s Aces ‘n Eight. It appears to be another western. “That’s Ernest Borgnine. But is that Ben Affleck?” he asks.
“Ben wouldn’t be in a movie with Ernest. They’re from different eras.” I throw it out there, acting like I know what I’m talking about.
Hubby surfs to some kind of Internet thing on the TV where he can get the cast of characters and their biographies. “Ben could be in a movie with Ernest…Oh, wow, Ernest is dead. He died last year.” My husband seems saddened by this unexpected news.
“See, it’s not Ben Affleck,” I say. “Who was that guy in the bar? The blond? I know who he is. I can’t think of his name. ”
“He’s not who you think he is.”
“How do you know who I think he is?”
“You’re thinking of Jon Voight. It’s not him.”
“I’m thinking of Nick Nolte.” It’s not him either. It’s some guy we don’t know, I don’t bother writing his name down. I’m getting tired of writing in the dark.
“Go back to the Olympics.”
We watch Bode Miller tie for bronze. We both get pissed at the sportscaster who makes Bode cry when she brings up his brother who died this past year.
Exhausted we go to bed. In the dark.