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50/50 Exercise #26: Freedom Object

Wednesday, January 30: J. spent his bonus on a 67-inch flat-panel TV. He’s very excited about the Super Bowl.

Thursday, January 31: J. left work early to come meet the satellite-TV guy. If they stuck the dish up on the roof, why is my kitchen such a mess?

Friday, February 1: We stayed in tonight and watched DVDs on the new TV. What an amazing picture! After the first movie, I had a headache. We moved the bookcase over next to the patio door and pushed the leather loveseat back against the wall to get more distance from the TV. The front left leg is loose.

Saturday, February 2: We usually go for coffee at Mister Beans on Saturday morning, but I didn’t want to drag J. away from his cartoons. I picked us up a couple of lattes. When I got back, J. was watching golf. I threw in a load of laundry, then went off to shop for tomorrow.

Sunday, February 3: So excited—there’s nothing I love more than throwing a party! I’m trying a recipe for a seven-layer dip with spinach, corn chips, ranch dressing, and all kinds of other good stuff. Also, of course, wine, beer, margaritas, you name it. Everyone is coming at 6. Lots to do!

Monday, February 4: Big fight with J. He says he doesn’t know whose idea it was to stack books under the broken leg of the loveseat. I said he should have more respect for my things. If that wasn’t enough, while I was trying to vacuum potato-chip crumbs out of the carpet, J. asked me if I could move because he couldn’t see the TV. How could he possibly not see that thing?

Tuesday, February 5: Came home at lunchtime because I had forgotten to take the dry cleaning with me this morning, and there was J. watching The Bold and the Beautiful. What is wrong with this man?

Wednesday, February 6: League night at the bowling alley, but J. wanted to watch Celebrity Apprentice. I suggested he TiVo it, and he got pissy. “There are some shows you have to watch on the night they broadcast them.” Please! I went bowling without him.

Thursday, February 7: Was trying to read People, and J. told me the light was making glare on the TV screen, and could I go read in the bedroom instead? I’m so mad I can’t even see straight to read now.

Friday, February 8: J. came to bed at 3:00. I tried to get him to talk to me, and when that didn’t work, I tried to get him excited by kissing his chest. He always used to like that. He rolled over and fell asleep. I didn’t say a word to him before I went to work this morning. I don’t know what I’ll say to him tonight.

Saturday, February 9: You aren’t going to believe this! J. came home from work last night with a mischievous look in his eyes. He said he had a surprise, and I should go take a bath to relax. When I came out wrapped in a towel, he pulled me on top of him on the loveseat. I said, “Let’s go in the bedroom,” and he said, “Why do you think they call it a loveseat?” And just when things were starting to get hot, all of a sudden, the TV was on, and he was watching a porn movie on that enormous screen behind me. I looked over my shoulder, and a larger-than-life fake blonde was doing a chubby guy with a stupid-looking mustache. I ran in the bedroom and locked the door. I let him sleep on the loveseat. Let the blonde keep him company, dammit!

Sunday, February 10: I can’t go on like this. J. was watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, and when I stood in the kitchen door and said, “Jeffrey, we need to talk,” he just held up one finger, like he was saying, “Hang on a minute,” without taking his eyes off the screen. And he held it up like that all the way through the contestant’s final answer, the dramatic lights and music, and Regis telling him that he’d won a thousand dollars, and then he held it there into the Burger King commercial that came on next. I don’t know how much longer he held it up, because I went back in the kitchen and cried for a while.

Monday, February 11: I dreamed last night that I smashed that television into a million pieces, and when I turned to look at him, J. was shattered in tiny sharp bits all over the worn black leather. When I woke up, I packed a suitcase.

Note: The assignment was to “describe an object that you associate with a particular kind of freedom.”

© 2008 Edward F. Gumnick

2 comments to 50/50 Exercise #26: Freedom Object

  • Gayle Goddard

    Well that one was comical and sad at the same time! And in typical Ed fashion you reverse-engineered it so the story was about an object that captures us, that we willingly give up our freedom to. You are iconoclastic, aren’t you?
    Can’t write anymore now, “Love Boat” is on…

  • efg

    You had me going for a moment. “Love Boat?! She watches Love Boat? They still show reruns of Love Boat?” (It wouldn’t surprise me to find it somewhere among the 800 channels of nothing to watch.)

    I was thinking of the TV not only as the focus of Jeffrey’s enslavement, but also as the instrument of the narrator’s eventual freedom.

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