One unfortunate and crippling side-effect of owning a machine that pauses live TV is the delusion that everything in life is pausable. A few weeks ago while traveling home from Northern Utah we were listening to a story on NPR about four kids who found a man who had fallen down a well and instead of running to get any help they left him there to die. Just as we were getting to the Twilight Zone moment of the story — the moment when you find out that the man is one of the kid’s father, or even better, that the man is actually one of the kids as an adult! — we started winding through a canyon and lost our radio signal. I reflexively reached for the TiVo remote and then realized, NO! WE’RE LIVING IN THE PRESENT! I imagined that what I was feeling right then would be similar to being subjected to Chinese water torture.
Often I reach for the TiVo remote in my head to rewind reality. If I blow my hair dry and the ends don’t curl in the right direction my thumb starts twitching as I try to rewind the entire scene and start over. If I put too much salt in the pasta sauce? Pause it! REWIND! When Leta sprays poop out her diaper into a puddle on the hardwood floors? FAST FORWARD TO THE PART WHERE WE’RE DONE CLEANING IT UP. Last night we had a new gas fire log installed and Chuck sat in front of it for so long that when he got up to walk away he was so hot that he collapsed head-first after only two steps. I wanted to set a Season Pass so that when he does this every night for the next four months I get to see it every single time.
A few nights ago Jon and I were watching TV on the couch in the living room and during a scene in “Law and Order” neither one of us could make out what the District Attorney was saying. I suddenly got an itch on the top of my nose and without realizing it I rewound the show to the exact spot where the District Attorney started speaking with the same hand I used to scratch my nose.
“Did you see that?” I asked Jon.
“What? That you were able to rewind it to the right spot the first time?”
“That I was able to rewind it to the perfect spot WHILE I WAS SCRATCHING MY NOSE. I pressed rewind with my thumb, and scratched my nose with my middle finger. SAME HAND.”
“Oh, that part. That was breathtaking.”
“You know you want to rewind that maneuver and watch it in slow-motion.”