I love The West Wing. The icky ex and I fell into that series about eight years ago, and over time it became our collective fave. If you can find someone who has seen each episode more than I have, I will give you a one hundred dollar bill. That’s not a joke. To say those characters became my friends wouldn't be out of line. Hell, you could even say they were family. I’d play that show like other people play music. It accompanied me while I ironed my hair, while I did expense reports, while I cooked, and lots of times when the wasband and I turned in for the night. Trite yet true: The West Wing became the music of my life.
So when the marriage died, I had to break up with my favorite show. It was painful to even consider watching the thing. President Bartlett, CJ, Toby—they’d belonged to us both. So as a step in my proactive convalescence after the disaster marriage's demise, I trashed the well-worn boxed set of all seven seasons and the back-up copy(ies).
Though I soon missed my TV people, sating the pining wasn't compelling enough to dredge up the post-marital distress that came with 'em.
But you know something?—little by little, we get better. And one night I sent Jim this text:
Guess what I’m watching?
Food TV? (The man knows me.)
The West Wing!
He was suitably shocked. Jim knew that I’d loved the show and that I missed it but that if I was going to make any headway in healing from the infidelity bullshit, it was necessary that to I ditch it. Time passed though. My heart was happy like it had never been before. We heal. We do get better.
The West Wing is just a TV show—I should be embarrassed by how much I love it (though I’m not)—but being able to listen to that series again was a considerable marker of my recovery from the affair and divorce. I don’t think of Mark when the show plays. I’m not sad. I don’t experience those old feelings of rejection and I don’t get overcome with the sting of betrayal. Instead I just enjoy the sounds of the show emitting from my phone while I iron my hair, while I do expense reports, while I cook, and sometimes at night while I wait for Jim to finish tucking in the kidlings. It’s back: that old music of my life.
As he is prone to do, my Jim-guy indulged me. He watched the show’s pilot episode. I perched next to him on the couch, bare feet tucked between the cushions, heart a little quicker, hoping hoping hoping that he’d like it. Kind of like taking him to his first yoga class, I was anxious for this VIP to enjoy something I love.
He did. He does.
While I consider it sacrilege of the gravest form to compare yoga to a damn TV show, I’m gonna keep rolling with it. Much like I knew Jim wasn’t doing yoga just for me when he first went to class while out of town on a business trip, I knew he was watching the show for his own enjoyment when he told me that he loved/hated me for the introduction. In total The West Wing series is over 100 hours. A noteworthy (and worthy) commitment. He’s hooked. I didn’t ask for it and I couldn’t have expected it, thus making it an apt illustration of our union.
There, I did it again. I made the comparison between something very significant and my attachment to a damn TV series, demonstrating exactly how much I love it.
(And given that Jim’s schedule only allows for fifteen minutes of an episode every other day or so, it’s going to take him a helluva long time to get through President Bartlett’s second term. Don't pity the man though. He’ll relish every exquisitely-scripted moment.)