Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bears! Lions! The World!

The Bears are playing the Lions at Ford Field.  As a native Detroiter, once might think I have sentimental allegiance to the Lions.  Not just no, but hell no.  Go, Bears!

Last week we talked about being a new friend.  Today I want to tip my hat to a co-worker who is a also friend and the kind, generous, wonderful thing he did for me.

My younger niece came to visit a few months back and brought along her boyfriend.  He described going into a bar to meet someone and suddenly all the lights went low, the crowd got quiet, and all the TVs were turned to AMC.  It was "Walking Dead" night at the bar and from how his description, it was a good time.

I don't watch that particular zombie apocalypse offering but I do have a cable show I like.  I don't subscribe to cable.  I am strictly a network-TV person and would never be able to afford the amount of money premium cable demands.  (I have friends who are "Game of Thrones" fans and my eyes about bulged from my head when they shared how much they paid each month just so they can watch their favorite when it is on.) However, Netflix got me hooked on "Breaking Bad."

As almost everyone knows, "Breaking Bad" is the story of Walter White, an easygoing chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife, a high-school-age son with cerebral palsy, and no savings.  When the series begins, it's Walt's 50th birthday and he has found out he has a particularly virulent form of lung cancer.  He decides to cook meth to amass a nest egg for his family and it changes him.  I watched seasons 1-4 on Netflix.  AMC split season 5 into two parts.  The first half was last year -- and viewed by me on rented Netflix discs as soon as they came out -- and the second half is this year with the season finale airing tonight.

At the suggestion of my niece's boyfriend, I tried to find a "Breaking Bad" viewing party in my town.  There are a few, all in restaurants and when I called to ask, the employees advised you need to get there early.  In other towns, I've heard they have viewing parties in small auditoriums, light armories, or theatres and they charge admission.  Apparently no one thought of it here.  Then again bars already have cable installed and other venues probably would not.

I have a co-worker who is the most lovely person.  I lamented to him how much I wanted to watch the final episodes of "Breaking Bad" without waiting nine months.  He has fancy cable and has two roommates with whom he splits an AT&T package that also includes a landline and cable TV (and I think cell phones).  My friend told me he would see if he could tape it.

Remember tapes?  A few months ago, I was considering ditching my VCR-DVD combo because I didn't think I'd ever use the VCR portion again, the combo was hooked up to an analog TV, and I could not watch regular TV on it because those damn conversion boxes like to not work for me.  It's true.  They worked fine for several weeks and then just stopped.  I had a couple as backup and revolved them around, each working anew and then not working at all, until I surrendered, got a small HD TV for the bedroom, and gave up watching the analog TV except for DVDs because my living room chairs are comfortable.

My friend had a severely sprained ankle and he hopped all around his furniture, hooking up the VCR, test taping, moving wires, test taping some more, all so I could watch "Breaking Bad."  He decided he had to be home to turn it on to make sure it would tape.  He started it early and let it run longer "just in case."  The next day he brought the tape to me at work and I watched it that Monday night right after I watched "How I Met Your Mother."  And so it has gone all season.

I've struggled to adequately describe how much this has meant to me.  I have said to him, "I can't tell you how much this has meant to me."  My friend made the commitment to me and he stuck to it.  I get the satisfaction of knowing what happens to Walter White before the media spills it and before Netflix offers it on disc.  There's not a reason in the world I couldn't have waited for it but I didn't want suspense for nine months, I wanted satisfaction.  If it was out there and could be had, I wanted it.

Here's what it's meant to me:  the world.  My friend gave me the world.

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