Tag Archives: couch potato

Confessions of a much-married woman

I found myself home alone with the daughter this past week and a half, since the husband has been travelling overseas. Of course, the daughter’s a big girl of two and a half and I’m a big girl of… well, nevermind how old, and we managed just fine. But the experience did show me how much-married I’ve become in these five years. I always prided myself on being an independent woman, and being fine with doing things alone through my 20s, but clearly, marriage has changed me.

For instance, from being the tech-savvy (ish) young comp sci major who used to troubleshoot family computer issues, I’ve become an e-damsel in distress, who calls her husband in office, mid-meeting, and whines petulantly, “but it’s not working!” . Since the husband is something of a wiz with anything electronic and just handles any and all tech issues in our house, his parents’ house, my parents’ house, and the homes of sundry family friends (he tends to be loaned out like he’s a trusty eggbeater or something), I’ve gotten worse and worse since marriage. It doesn’t help that our house is filled with all sorts of electronic gadgets and complicated wiring that makes me nervous. It’s not like I could keep up even if I tried; a new thingamabob arrives in the mail (via eBay) every other day.

Anyway, I realised just how bad I’ve become when I went into panic mode by day two of his trip over some gadget not working, and my first instinct was to patch through an SOS call to China and wake up the husband. As I took deep breaths to calm down, the daughter observed wisely, “Daddy can fix it!” I realised I say that to her whenever something isn’t working right, and I was deeply ashamed about the sort of example I was setting for her. I wish I could tell you I rolled up my sleeves and figured it out myself, while my baby watched, her eyes shining with pride at the sight of her capable mommy. But no. No, I muttered, “yes, well, right now you’re stuck with mummy” (which she dutifully repeated) and set it aside carefully in a pile, along with the not-working hard drive, the malfunctioning tablet and other miscellany labelled “for daddy to fix”.

It’s amazing, also, how much companionship there is in doing nothing together in marriage. I mean, I’m constantly complaining that we don’t go out enough, we don’t socialise enough, etc etc. Most weekday evenings are spent vegging out on the couch in front of the TV. And most weekends are spent… well, ordering food in and vegging out in front of the couch. You wouldn’t think unscrewing your brain and staring glassy-eyed at the screen requires company. But apparently it does. Even watching the rom-com of my choice while eating paneer pizza wasn’t much fun alone. (Of course, that was at least in part because I went and chose the godawful ‘Austenland’. Note to the women reading this: if you find yourself with a free evening and decide to treat yourself to a chick flick, choose anything but Austenland. Especially if u actually like anything Austen has written.) Anyway, after a week of being a solo couch potato, I feel I might even be able to tolerate a frame or two of a Jason Statham movie for the husband’s sake… actually, no, scratch that. I couldn’t (sorry darling, but on the plus side, no ‘Austenland’ for you!).

Well, my tech support team should be landing at the airport anytime now. Welcome home! The couch, the TV and a host of non-functional electronics await you. Isn’t marriage fun?

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How to… Be a couch potato

1. Be prepared to work hard at this. You’re sniggering to yourself thinking, “This is gonna be a breeze — I’m a natural.” But we’re talking about the big leagues here, not your garden-variety, three hours-of-TV-a-day couch potato. This takes dedication and planning — memorised schedules and digital video recording, in case your job / family / real life gets in the way.

2. Just because regular programming — i.e. mindless sitcoms, trashy reality TV, and over-the-top soaps — are no longer running in the wee hours of the morning, doesn’t mean you’re off the clock. Get to know foreigners-dubbed-in-Tamil / Hindi / regional language of your choice on the TV shopping networks (you know you need that ab-buster the Arnie-look alike is selling) or their desi counterparts (Bhagyashree peddling Roopamrit — how the mighty have fallen). They’re your new best friends.

3. Invest in an eye-mask, preferably one of those with cooling properties (if at a loss, refer to the previous). Also, consider an exercise ball for your remote-hand (repetitive stress injuries aren’t an occupational hazard only for the IT crew). Both are going the extra mile for you here, and you might want to give them a brief break during commercials. But not for too long, or you’re going to miss out on the all-important ads.

4. Which brings us to this. Conventional couch-potato wisdom has it that commercial breaks are when you, the boob-tube addict, take a break. But this is not true. Because the hallmark of a true couch potato is the ability to reference all those annoying ads, hum their jingles (if you’re doing this right, they’re going to be stuck playing in a loop in your head anyway) and regurgitate their taglines.

5. Food is an essential part of this process (refer to Jughead, Archie comics). Useful tips include keeping the microwave within reaching distance, a shelf / basket with munchies at the foot of your couch, etc. For the truly marathon sessions, there’s always home delivery (but time the arrival of the delivery guy at least — significant moments of the show you’re watching).

DIVYA KUMAR

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