2012.10.03 Just 20,000 days ago...

By DAVID GREEN

What's that noise? I was sitting on the sofa Saturday night watching "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" when I heard an odd alarm sounding. It was coming from my iPad.

I don't hear many alarms from that device. Usually it's the sound of a video call (Apple calls it Facetime) with a daughter and granddaughter. This sound was different than Facetime, so I got up to look.

I read the message, quietly laughed, and returned to my seat next to my wife—that in itself a rather unique act. We aren't watching too many movies together.

I remember the good old days—maybe a couple of years ago—when I still averaged 2.5 movies a week. That seems crazy now. How could I possibly have done that? And what's changed so much since then?

To reach 2.5 movies a week, I would have to watch some of them in pieces. I might start one when I was home for lunch, then watch more in the evening or the following lunch. Not the best way to do it, but you do what you can do.

That was back in the days of three-discs-at-a-time rental from Netflix. I always had something that Colleen might want to watch along with something I knew she wouldn't care for. That latter category fell into lunchtime viewing.

So what's changed? I only rent one disc at a time now and I try to make it something she might want. She might disagree with that statement, but if I have only one movie, trying to find an evening to watch it together is a challenge. I've had a movie sitting around for three weeks, at least, knowing that Netflix must love those customers who are too busy to watch.

What else has changed? There's the aforementioned iPad that also makes a difference. My attention often goes there instead of to the movie-showing television.

I also blame the Fayette village council for changing its meeting night to Wednesdays. It's good for me as a reporter; I was never doing anything that night other than watching a movie, dagnabbit. With Fayette every other week and frequent Thursday and Friday night sporting events, I'm often able to work every night of the week and the movie sits unwatched.

Now it's time for a big asterisk (*) regarding the only-one-disc claim. There's also Netflix Instant. When Colleen is working late or off to a meeting, my iPad becomes my mobile movie screen. While cooking dinner, eating and washing dishes, I set the iPad on top of an oatmeal box so I can plug it into the under-counter kitchen radio for better sound and I work my way through old TV series that I never saw without cable service.

I've done some really "difficult" watching, such as "Dexter," when I would question myself about whether I really wanted to continue. I did. I even started watching "Breaking Bad," the show about a high school chemistry teacher who learns to make the best meth around. Have some pity on Mr. White. He's only doing it to support his family in the future after his lung cancer does him in.

I stopped watching "Breaking Bad." Too much bad stuff going on. That was a few months ago that I quit, but I'm back again. I couldn't stay off it; it's too addictive, even though it keeps getting worse and worse.

Anyway, we were watching a movie Saturday night when an alarm sounded. I went over and read "Colleen's 20,000th birthday." I no longer remember what led up to this discovery, but sometime over the summer I learned that my wife would be 20,000 days old in a few weeks so I added it to my calendar.

My calendar entry listed it on Monday with the description, "Two days away." I carelessly read that as meaning two days from Monday. I then knew I had something to write about and that brought forth the laugh as I returned to the sofa. I could urge people to wish her a happy 20,000th on Wednesday when the paper comes out.

Well, I was wrong, in more ways than one. The alert was given two days before her birthday on Monday, but that's not correct either. I actually have a column for next week, but I'm using it now.

Mark your own calendar and wish her a happy 20,000th on Oct. 13. And while you're at it, you might as well include my mother. It's her birthday, too.

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