Saturday, July 14, 2007

Our "first wife TV": spurned for a flat screen

Appliances, like ships and countries, appear to be gender-related. Our Pasquini espresso machine: a work horse, loyal, sexy, continually striving to make a richer brew and frothier foam? Female. Our Toshiba TV, working 24/7 without a groan, changing at the flip of a switch, remembering every show we had any interest in watching, not embarrassed to need help from TIVO? Also female. The drill? Male (no explanation needed). The computer, which speaks a language I don’t understand and can, with one word (often, “error”), make me feel incompetent? Definitely male.

The 27” TV, though operating perfectly and not yet commemorating its 5th year in our bedroom, fell into disfavor through no fault of its own. With all the other guys running after flat-screen TV’s, my husband started dragging me into appliance stores – J & R, P.C. Richards -- places I didn't entirely trust, both because of the initials and the “we’ll match any price” offer. Why not just lower your own price? Martin would lead me to specific models, again with initials – LCD. He praised high definition as if it had the allure of high cheekbones and high boobs. My lack of enthusiasm was no deterrent. Our TV was on her way out, like a wife about to confront a no-fault divorce.

Filling, albeit differently, the space where the TV had been is a new 37”, flat screen Sharp. Martin tries to justify the expense by pointing out the area that’s been freed up, refusing to admit it’s a no man’s land since you can’t put plants or books in front of a TV.

I’m trying to be fair to the new girl on the block. She’s spiffy. The news she gives, however, is every bit as disheartening and infuriating. On the wider screen, the al-Qaeda training ritual appears even more arduous with added overhead bars to grasp covering a longer distance. The higher resolution shows that Sam Waterston and Anderson Cooper have almost identical hair. Most everyone looks as if they were wax museum replicas. All faces appear to have been pulled and had laser treatments to remove pores and lines, the only exception Helen Thomas. I'm holding off final judgment until the red carpet on Oscar night.

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