February 02, 2006
In the Summer of 1999 we were living in Summerville SC, just outside of Charleston. I had read about a new television game show where 16 people would be marooned, compete for food, and vote about each other to determine the winner of a $1,000,000 prize. At the time I thought it sounded farfetched and didn’t consider watching the show. But then one evening, part way through the first season of Survivor, Michele and I watched an episode and were hooked. Although existing in a contrived setting, and certainly controlled by the dictates of the shows parameters, having real people interact in a stress filled situation and watching was fascinating to both of us.
Together we watched every episode of every season with out fail. That is until last October. I finished the season myself after Michele died. At the time I didn’t associate the since of dislocation during that program to her death; every thing I did was oddly dislocated from where it had been before. However, with the start of the spring season of Survivor tonight I am discovering what I already knew but wasn’t admitting to myself: shows we watched together just aren’t fun any more. Good Eats, Jeopardy, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Amazing Race, and Survivor were all shows we shared. Except for finishing out the season of Amazing Race and Survivor last fall I really haven’t been watching any of “our” shows. Instead I have largely been watching CSI and American Chopper. I think the only show to survive Michele’s death so far is The Daily Show.
Watching the season opener of Survivor has been difficult this evening. When I realized I wasn’t really watching it as much as I just had it on, I paused it for later in the weekend. I need to keep doing the things I liked doing, even if they feel odd to me now that I am doing them without Michele’s participation. I know that she would want me to watch the shows we loved, eat at our favorite restaurants, and enjoy the home cooking we shared. And I am doing all of those things, but sometimes, like tonight, it is harder and more poignant than others.