Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tuning Out the Background

I love the end of football season.  Not the time when it's over, but the month or so leading up to the end.  Hour after hour of talking heads blathering about formations and roster changes and coaching decisions and TBG fascinated, focused, glued to the screen. 

I'm amazed at the intensity he brings to it all.  Without much thought, he can bring up statistics from seasons gone by.... long long ago and just last year... comparing and contrasting and explaining to his uneducated wife the ins and outs of large men running into one another, carrying a pigskin.  He's a great teacher and I'm an avid listener and it works for us - when I pay attention.

I enjoy Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon on Pardon the Interruption, and their 30 minutes of (usually) adult conversation keeps me in the sports loop, able to converse with my son and my husband and the young man behind the bagel counter.  The VW service reps were surprised to find themselves talking about NFL draft picks with a grey haired old lady last week; I love being the outlier in their worlds.

But hour after hour of former athletes remembering their glory days wears thin.  I developed a solution that, until last night, seemed to work for both of us.  I take out my hearing aids. I bring my book and my water bottle to the couch beside TBG and I cuddle up.  The television becomes white noise.  Like FlapJilly's sound machine, I concentrate on the blur and not the specifics.  I can read happily while receiving foot rubs and shoulder squeezes.  He has company.  We are both amused.

The sidebar has been exploding as I track my reading progress.  Old series gave way to new books from old favorites which gave way to new books from new authors.  I'm stopping at the Large Type Books shelf first, and finding that my eyes are less tired when the print is huge.  I've been enlarging the font on my Kindle for some time but I find that it's much more pleasant to hold a paper book in my lap than the cold, mechanical, e-reader.  Luckily for me, there are a lot of old readers here in the Old Pueblo, and the library meets their needs with abundant copies of large-print editions of new titles and old favorites.  Almost all the books on the sidebar right now were read in that format, on the couch or the swivel chair, sharing the space if not the activity with my sweetie.

It's been working well for us.  He doesn't have to find a story I want to watch.  If there's a game on, I open a book and we're both ecstatic.  I can block out the cheers and the jeers and the commentary, and he alerts me if there's something he needs to rewind and share.  As long as it's sports related, I'm fine to read by his side; I've created a pathway n my brain that lets the words in and keeps the noise out.

All that went by the wayside last night.  I was finishing Douglas Preston's The Kraken Project, happily roaming the hills of New Mexico and the beaches of Half Moon Bay with the AI main character when, from outside my personal space, I heard Pauley Perrette's perky Abby Sciuto voice. She cut through the white noise of sports - he was watching NCIS and didn't tell me.

I don't watch a lot of tv.  Justified, The Americans, and NCIS make up my play list.  I can watch them all day, every day, old episodes and new.  They make me smile.  I cannot read when they are on the tv. 

You're watching NCIS?!?! You didn't tell me?!?!?! Did I miss much?!?!?

Yes, I'd missed five or six minutes.  He thought I was doing what I wanted to do, and didn't want to disturb me.  Sure, we could rewind so that I could catch up with what I'd missed; it was a new episode, after all. 

I put down my book and joined the team as they salvaged a vet's reputation. 

I wonder if Pauley Perrette wants to know that she alone has the power to take me from one realm to another?



  1. I married a man who cares less about watching sports than I do, which has worked rather well for us. Once in awhile I get interested in a quarterback or a coach but generally I don't watch the games either. As for basketball, soccer, baseball or even the Olympics, just not my thing. But I also don't watch any regular TV. So the night of the Superbowl, I had it on with no sound for the first half. We watched Blazing Saddles then, only turning back on the game at the end of it. Of course, the aftermath has gone on and on given that Seahawk call ;)

  2. You don't watch it but you're talking about it :) Amster's kids say the only thing they'd change about her is that she knows nothing about sports. I learned in self-defense, and now, like you, I am drawn to the human stories much more than the games.

  3. Have you tried Blue Bloods? It's pretty good. We've watched a lot of NCIS over the years. I think I have seen all of them.

  4. That's it. I enjoy the human interest and cultural aspects of any interaction of humans :). Certainly more rewarding than considering a lot of the rest of what is going on


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