If you were waiting last night for our weekly Downton Redux, you were disappointed. I doubt this actually happened to anyone seeing as I don’t think we have many readers who don’t follow me on twitter, and I spent a good chunk of time whining about this on twitter. My DVR has been acting squirrely for weeks. I knew it was going to need to be replaced. When it crashed on Thursday night, deleting all my recordings for the second time in two weeks, I knew it needed to be replaced soon. But I was leaving town Friday morning and I was able to get it back online, so I figured I’d deal with it another time. When I got back on Saturday night it needed to be reset twice, but each time came online without deleting anything. And I was tired, so I did nothing about it. I had to reset it again on Sunday, but I was still tired and my vertigo had returned. And once again, I was able to get it working again. I was even able to watch things I had recorded on it. I decided to call AT&T on Monday.
About 6:00pm it started making a funny noise (I wasn’t watching TV at the moment) and I realized it needed to be reset again. Only this time restarting it didn’t work. I tried resetting the gateway it connects to and that didn’t help. Then I tried unplugging it and resetting everything. Usually that wipes my DVR but gets it going again. Not this time. I went to online customer service (AT&T has recently made the phone number for customer service nearly impossible to find). The man on the other end of our chat talked me through restoring my DVR to factory settings. This still did nothing. He informed me that he would send someone out to repair/replace it and the earliest time slot available was 8:00am on Monday morning (due to my work schedule we had to schedule a much later one, but that’s not relevant to the story.)
And that’s when the nagging fear I’d had since Saturday night became a reality. I would not get to watch the Downton Abbey Christmas special when it came on at 9:00pm. Yes, it would later be available online. Yes, my friend J who lives across town and currently owes me some serious karma already has the DVDs and I could borrow it from him. Yes, my mother bought me the DVDs as a thank you for introducing her to the series and for paying off my car early and will probably get them to me by this weekend. No, it was not the end of the world in any way.
But I still sat down and sobbed. Then I realized it was stupid to cry over such a trivial thing when there are so many worse things going on in the world. Heck, there are many worse things going on in my life. This only made me cry harder.
You have to understand I am having the semester from hell. In the past couple weeks I have been reminded/realized 1) that I am a tiny insignificant cog in an overworked system 2) my staff sucks and I have to do all of their jobs 3) I have been screwed over by my committee 4) I will probably not get to take my qualifying exams this semester as planned 5) I am really not all that smart, and that might be an impediment in my chosen career path. Add to that a severe case of vertigo.
In the midst of all that, the one bright spot has been Downton Abbey. It’s the only show on television I look forward to watching. It’s also the only time in the week I stop multitasking. Any other television I watch while grading papers, sending emails, cooking/eating meals, working out, etc. But for the past several weeks on Sunday night I take my shower early, fix myself a cup of tea or a glass of wine or both, and sit on my couch in my jammies with my kitty on my lap and lose myself in a delicious bit of fluff.
Last night that opportunity was taken away from me. And, naturally, I did the neurotic grad student thing of telling myself it was because I don’t deserve to relax like that. I have too much work to do to spend two hours watching television unless I’m also doing something productive. This was probably the judgment of the universe punishing me for being a slacker. I hadn’t been as productive Sunday morning as I could have—this was my punishment. Hell, if I had just had the initiative to contact AT&T in the morning I might have been able to get it fixed earlier. I had only myself to blame.
In the end it’s still not the end of the world. Some very sweet stranger on Twitter let me know I could watch on YouTube, quickly adding a note that he would ordinarily not endorse such a thing, but he recognized it was a major emergency. It was bizarrely touching. And since I knew I was useless for grading papers (I would have failed everyone) I decided to indulge a little bit. Not trusting the image quality on YouTube I decided to rewatch last week’s episode on PBS.com. I didn’t relax the whole time—I was periodically minimizing it so I could print today’s attendance sheets, packing everything I would need for today at work, and organizing the papers I was not going to grade until today. But I also relaxed some. I drank a cup of tea and a glass of wine. I ate a Reese’s peanut butter egg that’s been in my freezer since last Easter. I looked though my cookbooks for my next ice cream recipe.
And the upshot is that next Sunday, when I otherwise would have had to deal with the reality of no Downton till next year, I can lounge on my couch and relax one last time.