I generally write about events or situations that happen to me in a quaint, yet not too offensive way, and I try to do a little of this each morning. This isn’t a job for me because I enjoy it and besides—jobs pay a lot more money, but it passes the time in what I have begrudgingly accepted as retirement. Given that, what I’m about to talk about will be mostly lost on people who have to go to work at an actual place that isn’t in the corner of their own home.
I used to get up early for work, and while there was a little time to flick on the TV, I seldom did. My head wasn’t in the right space, plus I like it to be quiet enough to hear a bird fart during those first moments of the day. I’d read the newspaper while I ate breakfast and off I went. I had no idea who hosted the Today Show or what came after that.
These days, I roll out of bed in shifts, either to let the dog out, release part of the ten gallons of water we, as modern dehydrated Americans, are told to consume daily, or because my wife will lie awake until 1:00 in the morning watching Forensic Files. The latter doesn’t encourage sound sleeping on my part because even in a half-sleep, I can still hear about somebody murdering somebody else and putting the body—plus a damning thread of evidence—into a trunk. FYI—it’s always the husband, a contractor or a disgruntled employee, so if you know anyone whose husband is a recently fired contractor, you may as well call a mortician.
I eventually give in to wakefulness and get up and out of bed with the sunrise, quietly dilly-dallying about the house until my brain is firing on at least half of its cylinders so I can write or edit pictures. Now that it’s nice out, I’ll also wander around the yard looking at flowers and listening to birds, often adding to the ten thousand pictures I already have of flowers and birds. I spent a solid two hours early this morning with a camera, stalking a single bumblebee around the yard, which is not something a sane, working person usually does. This is retirement lunacy.
I usually make a pot of coffee about an hour or so after I get up, trying to time it so it’s still hot when Mrs. G. rolls out of bed, but since she’s spent most of the wee hours watching the 24/7 Forensic Files channel, she’ll likely be a while. Around 8:00 or so, I’ll sometimes pop on the TV to see what’s happening on the Today Show. Some days it’s earlier, but now that the weather has improved, I can move the office and coffee pot onto the porch, so most days not at all. Today is more of a winter vice.
Here’s what I’ve learned: I can’t digest hard TV news that early, so this is perfect. The Today Show news segment sounds as if good-looking people with perfect enunciation are reading the bullet points off Twitter feeds. I also know what the weather will be like all across the country, who turned one hundred years old, and how to make lasagna using sweet potatoes instead of pasta.
I also like the people they have hosting the show. Each of them seems amiable and chummy, and if any one of them lived next door, I’d let them borrow a rake. I’ve tried Good Morning America, but it reminds me of a morning version of one of those dopey entertainment shows they broadcast after dinner. CBS This Morning is a good change up if I feel like something a bit newsier, but as for the dozens of cable news options, nope—it’s too early for that. So it’s Today.
At 9:00, Today takes an hour-long break locally, but it’s back on again at 10:00 and is now more fun. It’s more cooking and more fashion. It’s more Diet Pepsi as opposed to black coffee, if that makes any sense. If it’s on at all, it’s background noise with nobody paying much attention to it.
One observation on the 10:00 hour: They normally balance out the hosts by gender. Two guys and two women, but on occasion, the guys will be off doing something else and it’ll be four women, and the entire tone of the show changes. It becomes a slumber party with four tweenage girls who have eaten nothing but Gummi-bears and Skittles for ten hours. They all talk at once, they all scream and laugh, and it is absolutely impossible to understand what anyone is saying. If they broke out a Backstreet Boys CD and started jumping up and down, it would be my daughter’s twelfth birthday party all over again.
At this point, I’m done, but Today isn’t. There’s a fourth hour at 11:00 that has all but thrown news out the window and exchanged it for Hoda and Kathy Lee or occasionally Jenna Bush or a Broadway actress, and they drink actual wine on TV and talk about stuff. I have no idea what kind of stuff. Nobody does. Nobody in the history of the world has ever made it past the first ten minutes of this show. By the time they roll the end credits, a root canal done by a ham-handed large animal veterinarian would be less painful.
As for the rest of the morning into the early afternoon, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t marginally aware of what’s on, but it’s summer (or almost summer anyway) and the TV gets a huge break. There will be no panel discussions about hot topics in front of a w-o-o-o-o-o-ing studio audience, no cooking shows, and certainly no judges or doctors or whatever sub-genre time filler they have now. That’s done. As this is being written, it’s 11:30 in the morning and the TV hasn’t been on at all, and will likely stay that way until well after dinner. From now until the snow flies, we’ll have a shuffling of Pandora stations humming along in the background, but not to worry. There will be another Today tomorrow. There’s always another Today tomorrow.