The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

February 17, 2007

I think I get an “A” in the compromise department

These are the television shows I watch regularly:
  • The Daily Show
  • The first half of The Colbert Report (then I get tired and go to bed)
  • Most HBO shows, when they’re on: The Sopranos, Rome, Big Love, Entourage, Real Time with Bill Maher, Curb Your Enthusiasm

I also recently committed to 30 Rock and The Office (not as good as the original, but still pretty awesome). And I try to catch Check, Please! and Rick Steves’ Europe on Saturday afternoons. But that’s it. If John’s flipping channels and he stops at some history or nature program, I’ll usually watch—and I recently saw The Dog Whisperer and loved it—but I just don’t watch much TV (even though there are shows out there that I’d probably love: 24, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy). I don’t know; a lot of American TV makes me feel dumb, and sad about my fellow Americans. I like to read books and magazines (and yes, that includes InStyle; I'm not a total snob!). I get my news from NPR, the 'net, and the newspaper.

You may have noticed that the above photo depicts a rather large flat-screen television. It is in our living room. It belongs to us. Rather, it belongs to John. He bought it with part of his annual bonus. When we have friends over, I tell them that it’s not my TV. That it was one of John’s fondest dreams to have a 42-inch flat-screen television, and I gave in. Compromise is the secret to a good marriage, you know, I tell them sagely.

I’m getting used to our latest acquisition—concerts and movies and travel shows do look glorious on it, and being able to DVR shows for later is nifty—but it was difficult for me to allow the TV into my 900-square-foot home. I can distinctly remember standing with John in Circuit City, feeling helpless and a little desperate as he talked about warranties with the sales dude. I showed him a nice 30-inch screen (too small). I pointed out that our living room wasn’t that big (We won’t live there forever, he replied). I asserted that having a huge TV makes it look like we spend our lives glued to the tube (I do watch a lot of sports, he reminded me). I said that I thought the TV would make us look like materialistic assholes. He disagreed.

I really, really didn’t want that TV. And he really, really did. And I gave in.

I felt very conflicted about this for awhile. Should I have stood my ground? After all, it’s my house, too. Was it weak to give in? John and I have an exceptionally equal partnership, but I knew that damn TV would make him as happy as a clam. I also knew that he worked incredibly hard all year and deserved every cent of his bonus, and I wanted him to spend part of it on something he really wanted. I wanted to see him happy.

So I capitulated, I surrendered, I gave in. I made him promise that when we move, the monster will go in the rec room or den. And I declared myself the sole chooser of the new armchair we had space for after rearranging the living room. He didn’t stop thanking me for days; he was incredibly grateful and appreciative. I think he understood the situation, and that did make me feel good. Even though I still kind of hate the TV, I do love the person who wanted it.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you did the right thing. John deserves to have the things he can afford and wants, just as we do. And you don't need to worry what others think of's there for your enjoyment, period. We can't live our lives worrying what others will think of us!


8:03 AM  
Anonymous HoorayForSaturday said...

OK, you just added one more thing to the long list of stuff I miss so dearly about living in Chicago, Check Please!
It's been a year since I've seen Check Please and I miss it so, that is a great program and I think every city in America should have a show like it.
Tell Alpina Singh to call me.

12:02 PM  

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