Many years ago, maybe five, a young teacher from New Jersey wrote me about my book, Every Secret Thing. We had some mutual friends, we became friends, I watched as he went on to publish his own PI fiction (the excellent Jackson Donne series). I dropped in on his blog, forgave his love of the New York Yankees. (Yankee love, is, in fact, much easier to forgive than Met love.) Over time, I noticed that the young writer, Dave White, had a pronounced fondness for a television show called HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. “Oh you crazy kid,” I thought.
Flash forward to February ’09. I am on an American Airlines flight that is supposed to be leaving Guatemala City, but there is a light in the cockpit that won’t go off. During the two-hour flight delay, which resulted in a cancellation, they show us several CBS comedies, including an episode of HIMYM. I am charmed in spite of myself. It is a sitcom, a very sitcomy-sitcom, with catch phrases and a laugh track, but it is also told in a wonderfully nonlinear fashion, in which various characters recount the same story according to their own memories and/or priorities, which are never the same.
Flash forward to today. I am in the San Francisco airport, downloading another episode of Season 2. Season 1 and half of Season 2 have helped to make my flights in and out of Sydney pretty painless. (As have my books and my Kindle and the inflight film “Quantum of Solace,” which put me to sleep twice. This is a perverse compliment, as I have learned that only action films I genuinely like can put me to sleep on a long flight. I slept through three showings of The Bourne Ultimatum on a flight from Johannesburg to Washington D.C.)
I have to think that the producers of HIMYM — that’s what the kids call it — would pay me to go away; I am so not their demographic. At any rate, if anyone’s online on Memorial Day (and if so, why?), stories of unlikely obsessions, guilty pleasures, television DVDs* that you can’t stop watching, etc., after the jump.
*Any mention of The Wire is expressly prohibited. I’ve just come from a writers festival where that topic was very much in the air. “Every night, I ask my wife if I can put it in again,” said a young writer, referring to his DVDs**. One writer’s spouse, upon meeting me, proclaimed I was “famous” for being married to the person to whom I am married. I’m pretty sure I’m not famous, but if I’m famous for that — dang, kill me now. The only Baltimore girl to achieve fame via matrimony that I can think of is Wallis Warfield Simpson.
**He was a lovely, charming and particularly interesting young writer, who, at a low point in his writing career, went on a big Australian quiz show and became one of only a handful to walk away with the “lot” — cash and prizes totaling more than $650,000 AU dollars.