Monday, July 6, 2009

A Slippery Slope

So I finally got TV channels set up here last night – satellite TV. I hadn’t even particularly wanted it, although it was nice to be able to watch the hockey playoffs and the occasional movie in the hotel. And that’s when we were negotiating for what I got in the apartment – so when they asked, “Do you want a TV and a programming hook-up?” I said, “Yeah, OK. Sure.” But then, after having lived without it for several weeks, I wasn’t too keen on getting it – I’d probably never have read so much after having worked all day as I had in the last couple of weeks if I’d had TV programming...But the guy who’s been helping me, Kapil, was working so hard on it, and doing such a seemingly effective job, I didn’t want to be a killjoy.

So, anyway, last night, he showed up on my doorstep, shivering and wet. No, actually, he was dry and at an apparently comfortable temperature. But he came in and encouraged me to turn on the TV – I don’t know what inspired him to do this particular thing at this particular time, as earlier in the day we (he) had called the programming helpline, and, as far as I could tell (the girl who listened to our “conversation” in the office seems happy enough to laugh as she listens to one or the other’s side but surprisingly disinclined to share that joy by providing any translation to the other party...), been told that programming would be available in 24 hours. Anyway, perhaps just wanting me to check or perhaps having some inside information, he asked me to turn it on, and "Voila,” as they probably used to say in the small Pondicherry French colonies here, “I see Zee TV!” (if they were indeed watching the channel named Zee TV, which they may have if they liked Western programming in English, which is what it seems to broadcast.)

I wasn’t overly excited by the prospect, but TV has an insidious way of growing on me, and pretty soon I was enjoying William Shatner’s relation of some hilarious anecdotes to Conan, who appeared to be on a new set or some such thing. I laughed quite heartily, which I felt a little bad about, as Kapil, who was sitting there watching with me, doesn’t speak English, and therefore was probably missing the finer points of Shatner’s story, though, one must admit, it did contain an unusually large amount of miming to dramatize the presentation, which was nice, although, when be began describing something that had happened when he'd headed off to relieve himself, Conan began to discourage such a style of storytelling.

Well, then that ended, and before they returned with Incubus after the commercial, we flipped through the channels to see what all I gotz. Then Kapil wanted to confirm that the HBO I got was in English, so I found it, and there was an adventure movie on, so we stayed with that for a bit (light on the dialogue, heavy on the action – translates well even without translation) before he had to go.

So, when he got up to leave, apparently having consumed a sufficient level of English-language television for the time being, I turned off the TV. After his departure, I planned on leaving it that way but then thought maybe I should just check to make sure it still worked after turning it on again. Then I thought maybe I’d just look at one or two of the channels I saw that was more likely to have something interesting on. Then, of a sudden, I found myself sitting there, being comforted by that avuncular old friend known as TV.

I felt like Adam. I hadn’t really been particularly interested in this apple - had been content just going about my simple but wholesome life - but it had been pushed so hard, I figured, “What the heck?” So I gave it a try. Just because. To be polite. And we all know how that story goes – next thing you know, it’s fifteen years later, and you're pouring the contents of the flask you keep in the interior pocket of your overcoat into your Gloria Jean's Coffee Beans cup in front of a Great Steak Escape in a food court in Poughkeepsie, staring ashamedly at the fifteen-year-old girls in their baby tees.

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