I still remember my two college roommates who read fiction books for pleasure throughout the semester. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine ever getting myself to do that. I always felt like I should be studying or working or something. The idea of pleasure reading during those stressful years was not one I could get my head around. It felt way too indulgent.
Life is busy—a full-time job, volunteer commitments, stacks of books to be read, chores, driving kids. You know the drill.
Several years ago, my bestie mentioned The Gilmore Girls in conversation.
“What’s that?” I piped up. She looked at me like I had six heads.
“Seriously? You love quippy conversations, drinking coffee, talking about coffee, and smart writing—I cannot believe you haven’t seen this show. It’s on Netflix—you should be watching it. Promise me you will start tonight.”
“Suuuuuure,” I said hesitantly, already knowing that my post-midnight bedtime didn’t need to be pushed even later. But even though the bags under my eyes had bags, I accepted the challenge.
About six months later, I watched the first episode, and I was hooked.
Two days later, I watched the second one. A week later, I watched the third episode, and now, two years later, I am finally in Season Three. Yep, two years later, Season Three. And, truth be told, I’m pretty proud of my progress.
That is, until last week, when Kid #1 returned from freshman year of college.
What Is Binge Watching? My Son Could Demonstrate
“What’s your plan until you leave for your trip in 2 weeks?”
“The semester has been so busy. I’m looking forward to just chilling. I heard The Office is a great show. I think I’m going to watch that.”
“That sounds great—you deserve it. Enjoy.”
That day I returned from work, to find said kid still in bed, computer on his lap, glasses on—telltale sign that no shower had been had, and probably not a meal eaten.
“How was your day?” I asked, plopping down next to him.
“Awesome. I’ve done nothing. I watched seven episodes of The Office—it’s hilarious. Want to watch one with me?”
“Maybe later. I have to finish up some work.” Headphones put back to their rightful position on his head, and I sauntered out.
Next day? Same story – except now he had finished Season One, and was moving on to Season Two.
Days Three and Four, finished up Season Two.
Day Five, cue up Season Three. And so on. For two weeks.
Now, the kid had a very busy semester. I get it. But two weeks straight watching a TV series? He had barely left the house.
“Dude, this is like an unpaid internship,” I said to him one afternoon. He laughed.
My Son Has Time To Spare
That evening he was heading out to a friend’s to housesit for the weekend for their dogs. And that’s when it hit me—Zach was actually about to get paid to binge watch The Office. His unpaid internship just turned into the highly coveted paid internship. My kid was a superstar. I couldn’t help but wonder whether Netflix would hire him next summer. They could only be impressed with his stellar performance.
Admittedly, I was a little bit—okay, very—jealous of his downtime. No work hanging over his head, no classes, job not starting for a few weeks. In a world that is swirling with texts, news, and emails, he had discovered indulgence.
The next night I returned from work and was supposed to be heading back out the door to a meeting. My son was in bed—same position. I had just recently asked him if he thought I should turn him so he wouldn’t get bedsores.
He smiled his dimpled smile when I walked in his room.
“Want to watch an episode?” he asked, dimples and all. “I’m at the end of Season Three. You will love it, Mom.”
I plopped down next to him, as he handed me a second pillow to put behind my head. Who could say no to that? I had so much to learn about binge-watching, and my kid had become the teacher.