My wife said she wanted to visit girlfriends in Michigan. I was opposed to this and was very firm.
“Don’t you have friends here? Gas is expensive,” I said. “So are hotels.”
She left yesterday.
Whenever she goes out of town, I need instructions for the microwave and dishwasher. Time passes slowly when she’s away. It’s been 4:27 p.m. in the great room for the past 22 hours (I don’t know how to wind the grandfather clock).
Watching TV without Mary Ellen is difficult. First, I’m hard of hearing. Second, even with captions, I lose track of the plot because my mind wanders, and third, I’m very impatient. I ask questions about the storyline before anyone is supposed to know.
“Why did that woman jump off the bridge?” I’ll ask.
“I don’t know, Dick. Nobody knows. We’ve been watching the show for 45 seconds.”
Before Mary Ellen’s current trip, we started the first episode of a series called “Severance,” but she left the room after 10 minutes, saying it was way too weird. She reminded me that this would give me something to occupy my time during her vacation.
The show confused me from the start. It’s about a company involved in some illegal activity. They implant a programmable chip in employees’ heads so when they leave the office, they don’t recall what questionable stuff they did that day. I suffered from a similar lack of memory for 30 years at WISH-TV, but I’ve been told over the years by people who watched my segments that I looked like I was having fun. I was so happy to know I enjoyed my work.
The first night she was away, I called Mary Ellen to ask her a question about the plot.
“Can you turn on ‘Severance’ and help me figure this out?” I asked.
“Dick, remember, you asked me stay at a cheap place to save money. I know this is hard to believe, but they don’t have Apple TV+ at Motel 6.”
I asked her if I could hold the phone up to the TV so she could listen.
“I’m going to rewind it to the part I don’t understand,” I said. “You can help me decipher it.”
“Geesh, Dick, watching ‘Severance’ was already weird enough. OK, I assume from the promos that the woman is drilling into the dead guy’s head to extract the chip to see what memories he had of the company.”
Mary Ellen was right, which annoyed me because she had never even watched a full episode. I was on show No. 6.
The next day in church I approached the Penrys, our friends who initially had recommended the show.
“Dan, can you help me understand one of the story lines in ‘Severance’?”
“Oh,” said Alyce, his wife, “I didn’t know Mary Ellen was out of town.”