Love in the Time of TV: How TV-Watching Habits Reflect Marriage
"This Could Get Ugly"
Moments of revelation don't come often in a marriage, so you have to take them where you can get them. I recently had one such epiphany while sitting in my father-in-law's well-worn leather recliner, which, of course, directly faces the television.
I picked up his remote and started flipping through the channels, eliminating the offerings on channels 2 through 37 in less than 10 seconds. Diane claims this quick changing gives her motion sickness but, really, how long do you need to look at a curling match on ESPN 7, or a raccoon peeing on Animal Planet, or Happy Days in Portuguese to know that you don't want to watch it? I settled on a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond that I hadn't seen in a while (maybe a week). Assuming the show could provide up to eight minutes of viewing pleasure before a commercial sent me surfing again, I nestled into the comfy chair.
And then the channel changed.
Stunned, I peered first at the disobedient TV, wondering how it suddenly had sprouted a mind of its own, and then over to the chair, on the other side of the reading lamp. And there sat my wife, her face transfused with glee. She was wielding a second remote control.
I quickly changed the channel back, then she changed it again. As this escalated, we each got more and more aggressive until we were brandishing the remotes like weapons.
"Boy," I thought, "this could get ugly."
Apparently, when my father-in-law bought one of those all-in-one remotes -- which works your TV, DVD/VCR, cable box, and the "bagel only" button on your toaster -- he decided to let my mother-in-law keep the channel changer that came with the TV as a souvenir. He knew she would never abuse it.
Diane, however, apparently had been waiting her entire married life for her own remote -- and the opportunity to push my buttons.
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