binge

I wish I could say the break in text posts was because of not yet finding a new balance with working evenings and having a dog.

I’ve been slacking because of what seems to be my new rite of spring: Binge watching a TV show.

It all started with going through all but the final season of Night Court back when I was in Charlottesville. (I don’t consider the final season to be canon for reasons far too detailed to go into right now.) Last year was BoJack Horseman. This year, it’s Shameless.

I cannot get enough of this show. Recently I’ve been going to bed at 1 a.m. so I can get up around 9, walk Missy until about 11:30 and then watch up to three episodes. I’ve breezed through Season 3 in two weeks and will start Season 4 tomorrow.

Season 8 starts some time this year.

When I started this binge, my wife asked what I was in it. First off, I have a very, very dark sense of humor, courtesy of coping with years of reporting on and editing articles about some pretty heinous crimes. Secondly, it’s because it’s one of the move honest representations of lower-income families I’ve seen on TV.

Because I’ve seen it in person.

I was extremely lucky. I had a father and grandfather with military pensions. We always had food, lights, water and at least one car. I didn’t necessarily get everything I asked for when I wanted them, but things seemed to work out on Christmas and my birthday.

Until an infill house was built, my mom has the house with the second-highest assessment on our block. She was shocked. My response was, “Have you seen the rest of the street?”

I grew up with friends who sometimes came home with me for lunch or a sleepover and it was clearly because they were hungry. I had friends who were constantly moving as their parents stayed one step ahead of evictions. I’ve seen vermin-infested homes. I had friends and family members who begged, borrowed and stole to make ends meet. I’ve a dumped body and heard of others being shot. I’ve seen deadbeat fathers and spaced out mothers and the old lady who’s a semiretired whore and the people who have fried their brains and rotted their teeth. I’ve seen siblings fight each other viciously but would gang up on anyone who said something unkind about one of them five minutes later. I’ve been to parties where someone starts fighting and that’s the cue to leave. I’ve seen the upper-class boyfriend and girlfriends try to tough it out. I’ve seen the neighborhood bars that skirt liquor laws and unorthodox living situations and the smart kids everyone lifts up because they knew he or she were better than that place and they also wanted to show that despite it being considered by some to be a slum, we can produce people who can make something out of themselves.

I’ve seen those smart kids flame out when they can’t adjust to the outside. I’ve seen them falter but recover. I’ve seen them go on to stride into work with a monogrammed travel mug, a Michael Kors blazer, a J.Crew shirt and Stacy Adams shoes.

I’ve seen hopes and dreams get crushed, bright kids become bitter and hardened, wonderful households get shattered by drinking and drugs.

But there still was fun. There still was family.

And sometimes, all you can do is look back at it and laugh.

For seven seasons and counting.

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