Dinner at 5:30?  You’ve got to be kidding! Where do you think I live, in south Florida?

Well, truth is, I do live in south Florida, but dinner at 5:30 has nothing to do with the Early Bird Special, or a 7:30 bedtime.  It has everything to do with filling the rest of the evening immersed in as many episodes as possible of whatever it is we are currently watching on Netflix.  Or Hulu.  Or Acorn, Apple TV, or Amazon Prime.  Or an occasional 7-day free trial of some other streaming app, in which case dinner might collide with lunch since we have only 7 days to complete 3 seasons of 10 parts each of another irresistible series.

Yes, COVID has certainly changed our lives and our daily habits.  No more meeting friends several times a week for a recreational dining experience.  The kitchen stove, which used to be an ornament, is now in need of nightly wipe-downs with Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser.  And evenings which might have been spent at a theater or a movie house, are now passed in front of a smart TV.  The couch cushion has a permanent indentation which can no longer be plumped away.  And beware of pressing that “Play” button on the remote because once you do, a binge is likely to follow.

The immersion into this other world becomes so deep that once the series has concluded, I am totally bereft.   I need a new fix, and quickly.  Is this what it’s like to be an addict?

And I know I’m not alone in my neediness.  On Zoom calls with friends the topics of conversation have switched from politics and other intellectual pursuits to “what are you watching?”  Hopefully, you and your friends have the same propensities when it comes to selecting TV shows and movies.   If not, you might have to consider a new group of friends.

My own personal tastes, and fortunately, those of my husband since he still controls the remote, lean towards mysteries, detective shows, crime dramas.  And the internet does not disappoint.  Interspersed with my favorite reruns of “Law and Order,” I now have access to police procedurals around the globe.

It’s amazing how much crime occurs in quiet English or Irish seaside villages.  Or sleepy little,  snow-filled towns in Scandinavia, complete with subtitles.  An entire cadre of multilingual male and female detectives who never shave or change their clothing, have become my new best friends.

I was most recently besotted by an intrigue which took place in Holland.  This one had it all: sex, murder, crooked politicians, corrupt businessmen, more murder.   I have to say the Dutch penal system was most impressive.  If I ever entertain a life of crime, I’m heading to Amsterdam.  The confinement spaces were quite comfortable, as well as private.  Visitors seemed to come and go at all hours.  And it appeared the detainees were allowed to wear their own clothing, rather than prison attire.  Although, if it was required, I personally wouldn’t mind an orange jumpsuit.  It brings out the blue in my eyes.

But Man cannot live by forensic autopsies alone.  So to lighten things up, there was the Korean sit-com, at least 120 entertaining episodes from several Australian TV shows, the delightful French show business series, women wrestlers from Las Vegas, and everyone’s favorites, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Grace and Frankie, and Schitt’s Creek with the generous bonus add-on season for those of us who couldn’t get enough of Moira.

So, folks, what will happen post-Pandemic? Will on-line life continue to prevail even after our stay-at-home life has ended? Will we return to a movie theater once it is deemed safe or remain on the couch? When we can safely patronize a restaurant and comfortably sit inside, will we prefer to stay at home with a pizza in order to watch a few more episodes of some import from Turkey?

I like to think I will want to pick up mingling where I left off about a year ago, but who knows? So until the day we’ve all successfully been through the vaccination lines, tell me what you’ve watched recently.  I would really appreciate some good recommendations!

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