Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hiding the evidence of my addiction

I spent parts of Sunday and Monday nights watching the Zoe Kazan vehicle The Pretty One, but I might as well have been watching hardcore pornography.

That's just how much I kept the viewing hidden from my wife.

It's not that I am ashamed of this movie in particular, or the quantity of movies I'm watching in general -- though my wife does give me shit about that last one, particularly this time of year. Rather, it's that I sometimes don't want my wife to know what lengths I've gone to in order to feed my addition. (Though she's finding out right now if she cares to read this.)

See, I only rented The Pretty One because I stopped by Video Ezy in Flemington on Saturday afternoon on my way back from the mall, where I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. And the only reason I stopped by Video Ezy was because I wanted to see what options they had physically sitting on their shelves, as I plan for the final stretch of my 2014 viewing season.

Not, probably, a reason to delay my return to help my wife with my older son, the bigger handful of the two, especially as they were involved in a cookie-making ordeal, the true magnitude of which I didn't know until I got home.

I did have my younger son with me, so I was doing my share of the babysitting in addition to some much-needed shopping that helped my wife as much as it did me (two key presents for her family were obtained on that trip, as well as a couple big ticket items for our older son). But as my one-year-old is far less demanding, especially when he can take in all the sights and sounds of the outside world, I felt a little bit like I was on a break, and extending that break by 15 minutes in order to hop off the tram and scan a shelf of new releases.

So, needless to say, The Pretty One had to be kept hidden like an illicit stash of dirty magazines.

I started by hiding it on my shelf in our bedroom, but then realized that I might want to start watching it at a time when I could not discreetly extract it without her noticing. So then I moved it to a higher shelf in our bathroom, where it stayed until I started to watch it on Sunday night -- making sure to give my wife a 20-minute buffer after she already said she was going to sleep. And when I couldn't finish it that night, I made sure to return it to that bathroom shelf, so that its existence would continue to go undocumented.

All a bit absurd, you will agree, but I need to maintain the fiction with my wife that I am only sort of movie crazy, not full on.

It's not the first time this fall that I've kept one of my rentals totally hush hush. I did the same for Life After Beth and Lucy, mostly because both of those were also situations where I had to go out of my way either to rent them, or to return them. Wanting only to avoid the momentary discomfort of my wife shaking her head and giving me one of those "you'll never change" expressions, I kept the movies secret.

The reason that's even more ridiculous is that my wife had already seen Lucy (on the plane) and was recommending I see it. So instead of actually notifying her at the time I watched it, we'll just fast-forward to a time when I will magically have already seen it, and the exact circumstances of my viewing will seem unimportant to her.

Oh, the things we do for ... love? Is that accurate? Or the things we do just to keep the peace?

Anyway, my wife is indeed supportive of this addiction, for the most part. She didn't even give me a hard time when I sent her an email with a list of titles I am trying to watch before January 15th, so she could select the ones she wants to watch with me. Perhaps that's only because I tried to steal her thunder by writing things like "low priority!" and "I know you will laugh at me, but ..."

In truth, doing this is just practical. There will be some remaining 2014 movies that she will really want to see with me, and it's useful for me to know which others I can just rent and watch after she goes to sleep.

I assumed The Pretty One was one of the latter, and that what she doesn't know I watched won't hurt her.

The funny thing is that even if she saw me watching it, her mind would not immediately go to "You rented this while you were supposed to be coming straight home from the mall, didn't you?" If she even cared to ask -- if she even bothered to make a comment about the fact that I was watching something -- where or when I got it would not be the kind of thing that would interest her. I'm hiding the movie from an imaginary clone of myself, not the actual person who is my wife.

Tonight I will mask its return to Video Ezy behind a trip to rent The Babadook, which she has already seen but which she is keen to rewatch with me. Shortly after renting The Pretty One I made sure to firm up our plans to watch The Babadook on Christmas Eve Eve, so I'd have reason to go to Video Ezy regardless.

Jeez, with this level of scheming, it's a waste that I'm not addicted to something that's actually harmful.

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