There was a time when, if you were to mention “date night” to me, I would imagine that mythological annual event in which a person of the male persuasion would appear on my doorstep, open the car door and drive me somewhere in his car and then *pay* for an evening’s entertainment. A person other than my father.
That image is long gone, put on the shelf next to unicorns and cable companies with customer service you actually enjoy calling. I no longer even hope that I might possibly ever see another one of those fabled nights. Instead, the fantasy image of “date night” has been replaced with an image of chat client software and the antics of ghost hunters.
Date night in my house is the weekly ritual of three sisters separated by hundreds of miles but united by a common need to mock cheesy reality television. It goes something like this:
Me: *Pet name for one of the guys which is too colorful for the eyes of my discerning readers* is pretending to see something interesting again!
Sis2oncouch: He’s probably *salty comment.*
Sis1faraway: LOL! I bet he is. Maybe he’s found *something very improbable*
Me: HA! That *is* improbable. It’d be more likely that he found the Holy Grail while skiing in Hades.
Sis2oncouch: *something really funny, but, only if you had read the actual rest of the conversation, and not this redacted version*
Sis1faraway: ROFL. Can’t breathe.
Me: *Makes the funniest joke any of us have ever heard*
Sis1faraway: Tears. Dying. STOP. I mean it. Really can’t breathe.
Me: I win! (calls 911)
Sis2oncouch: That wasn’t the funniest joke I ever heard, and you’d better not say that in your column. Besides, I’m funnier. And if Sis1faraway is really dead, I am *so* telling mom on you. You will be in *so* much trouble.
But, only one hour of ghost hunters is not enough.
After the EMPs have faded into the credits, we pop in DVDs of whatever series we’re currently mocking. Usually, we pick something that requires little concentration, because half the time we’re not really watching it. We pick TV series’ we’ve seen a number of times, or something so simple that the plot could be followed by aliens watching three systems away at the same time that they recalibrate their naughty probes, sketch out their next crop circle patterns, edit a cookbook of long pork recipes, check their toddler’s calculus homework, and balance their financial accounts.
We spend about three hours in front of our computers, listening to the television, one night a week. During that time, we lose ourselves to the glow of the computer screen, and hope that it doesn’t turn us into zombies or grow unsightly appendages. Although, it might be nice to have an extra arm. It might finally let me type faster than Sis1faraway.