When I was in High School, Dad and I got into watching Hill Street Blues. I can’t remember if other sisters came and went as they traversed the years before and after college, all I know for sure is that it was me and dad and Frank Furillo, and Coffey and Buntz and Lucy Bates with her tightly wound perm. We had a standing group date on Thursdays at 10.
It was our thing, a thing that became legendary in its inauspicious rituality. Thursday nights, Dad and Jacquie watched Hill Street. We were even known to air pop some corn from time to time, livin’ the dream.
One night at the appointed time, Dad called up the stairs that it was time for Hill Street. I was hanging out in my room, reveling in the glory of the 12” black and white tv that I’d been so thrilled to receive for my last birthday. Morose, withdrawn, misunderstood, underwhelmed. I was a teenager. I told Dad that I’d just be watching up here tonight.
A few minutes later, mom popped in. She was cool, she was calm, she was wise. She just said something to the affect that if her Dad had wanted to watch a show with her, she would have been psyched. Then she left. And about 4 seconds later, I went down to air pop some corn and watch Hill Street with Dad.
I think I must have been old enough to be emerging from the searing sense of self importance that is currently gripping my kids. But there’s something about that story, that moment when mom came and said what she said after dad had called for me up the stairs. I don’t know if it’s about my telling or if the powerful emotions of that memory come through. I just know that it’s a story I retell from time to time. And I think that’s why I never end up watching the Amazing Race alone.