Monday, November 29, 2010

Lesley and her Hair

It’s Sunday. The house is warm and cozy. The cats are spread about sleepily--two on the couch, one on a chair--as I make my way downstairs to join Seth for our ritual of watching Sunday morning news shows—This Week, Meet the Press and, depending on our levels of masochism or whimsy, either Chris Matthews or the McLaughlin Report. I greet Seth, who responds with a pleasant nod over his coffee mug and I sit, the morning's peace like a blanket around me.

Not for long. The guests on the first show have been announced and my normally serene husband has begun his routine. He opens with a snort or two. As the interviews unfold, the snorts increase in frequency and volume, morphing into jeers, ultimately working themselves into derisive hoots and enraged accusations. “Nobody ever answers the question,” he will shout followed by “That bum hasn’t paid his taxes, why is he even on here??” or “Why doesn’t she stop interrupting?” or the ever popular, “Get your facts straight, buddy!” Soon he will be on his feet, pacing or walking in small, tight circles until he completes several pirouettes, finally flinging himself back into the recliner. His wrath has turned. He is exhausted , despondently announcing—head in hands, “This country is going down the tubes.”
This takes place, without exception, every single Sunday.  Afterward, he is useless for the remainder of the day. Small projects begun in previous weeks go unfinished as he recovers from the physical and mental demands of the outburst. The cats, who disperse when all this begins, start to creep back downstairs to arrange themselves upon his reclining form, settling comfortably in the folds of the faux fur throw from Costco because they know their master is down for the count and they’ll be undisturbed for a few hours. I’ll drift off to the supermarket, do a crossword puzzle, refashion something from earlier in the week into an acceptable supper and venture downstairs where Seth is stirring, gearing up for the next round of rage and bluster---60 Minutes is about to come on.
First, he hates the new correspondents….either they’re too young, have unimpressive journalistic credentials, too many wrinkles, silly accents, are smartasses or dumbasses or have no asses at all. When Lesley Stahl appears on screen with her haystack of preposterous hair and giant plastic earrings, he marvels as if he’s never seen her before, “Doesn’t she use a mirror?" “Why do they let her on camera like that???” Or, my personal favorite in its despair and simplicity, “IS SHE CRAZY???” Andy Rooney gets it, too--”Why do we care about his collection of nail clippers?” “Why is he talking about pancake mix?” “Why doesn’t he trim his eyebrows?” “HOW OLD IS HE???” The cats have scattered again, I am in the fetal position sucking my thumb and he, suddenly feeling energized and refreshed, vaults up the stairs to take inventory of all the projects he “really should” take care of next Sunday...

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