Lately, I have been having an odd internal and philosophical debate.
First, you have to understand that the relationship my wife and I have is different. Not different in a naughty way, not different in a bad way, just different in a refusing to grow up and be adults even though we can’t stop time and remain young and ridiculous sort of way.
For example, we collect monkeys. It all started when Sarah played a monkey in the ensemble of a show I directed titled One Bad Apple. As an opening night gift, I gave her a monkey ceiling fan chain pull, which she named Yankee. Now, in our bedroom we have 21 different primates including an alarm clock named Ben, a basketball jersey clad stuffed animal named Jones, and a pillow named Bolster.
We also have weird traditions that have lead to our own sort of language. We never eat lunch: we enjoy “lunchy time”; bed time has become “snuggle time”; and a kiss is a “homn.”
If you are familiar with the TV show How I Met Your Mother, Sarah and I are very much in the Marshall and Lilly mold. If you are not familiar with that series, look it up on Netflix. You can watch all six seasons instantly.
Now, I am getting closer to the root of my problem.
This summer we have decided to watch the entire six-season series of LOST, all 120 episodes in between Memorial Day and Labor Day. At first it seemed like a daunting task, but I worked it out that if we watch one episode a night during the week with alternating one and then two episode Saturdays and two episodes every Sunday it should work out perfectly.
When we started on May 28, I noticed that LOST premiered on ABC in 2004. That was eight years ago. Then, I realized that it took six years to tell a story that we are going to experience in 105 days, and that is when it hit me.
Somehow I feel like we are robbing ourselves. Our inability to watch the show when it was “on air” combined with the immediacy of the Internet is taking away our authentic experience that so many people more dedicated and with different schedules got to enjoy.
The sublime tension that a good cliffhanger creates that a normal TV viewer had to wait at least a week, and in some cases multiple months, to release will only exist for a matter of hours for us. Then, if by some tragic accident, either of us suffers an amnesia-inducing blow to the head, we simply skip back to the previous episode to refresh our memories before moving on.
However, this may be where I draw the line.
One of my favorite parts about live performance, specifically live theatre, is the uniqueness of the audience experience combined with the temporary reality of the artist.
When you are an audience member at a show, each moment is a once-in-a-lifetime thing because you synthesize the art that is materializing right in front of your eyes and ears and then ingest the stimulus and merge it with your own personal experience and situation to ultimately return a response to the artist.
Then, once that moment has passed, it can never and will never happen again. Due in large part because the world that was created by the artist was temporary. It may last a day, it may last several years, but one day, both artist and audience can return to the space, and the fictional world that once occupied it will no longer exist.
However, with LOST, as long as we have a computer, the internet, and Netflix, Sarah and I can visit the mysterious deserted island populated by deliciously diverse castaways every day of the week, and fittingly, twice on Sundays.
You can obviously see what a conundrum this is.
Even so, I am going to go ahead and watch LOST. Not because so many people have told me what a wonderful show it was, or now is. Not because I already did all the work with my calendar trying to schedule out the episodes, and not because I am paying for Internet and Netflix so I might as well use it.
But because Sarah and I lead crazy lives; every morning she goes in one direction, and I go the other; around dinner time we usually reunite momentarily before logging more work hours, only to eventually pass out during “snuggle time.”
So, maybe, our 105 day journey from LOST to found, or LOST to more lost as some people have warned us, isn’t about the art at all. It’s about an escape that we can take together, and sometimes that is ok too, philosophically speaking.