At work, I get a half-hour break every two hours or so.
During breaks, all casino employees are pretty much required to go to the break room, which is connected to the cafeteria.
The break room is really a series of rooms, so while I might not have a choice of where I go during my breaks, I still get a choice of where I want to spend my thirty minutes in the confines of those few rooms.
I can go on the outside deck, which is above the Atlantic City Boardwalk and overlooks the ocean. I typically only do this on my first break during my 6:30AM shifts, and watch the sunrise* with a cup of coffee.
*It is not as poetically unmanly as one might think**. The smell of food in the morning makes me nauseous, so I need to go outside to get fresh air.
**But I cry anyway.
I can play a game of pool. It costs a dollar, though. And I am terrible at pool, so it would most likely take more than half an hour to complete a game.
Or I can watch television. There are many televisions throughout the rooms, each one broadcasting a different channel.
None of the stations can be changed manually, or at least not to my knowledge. One day I was touching every button on one of the televisions to try to watch the Flyers game. A Mexican janitor was reading a newspaper in the room. Without looking up, he told me that the televisions are controlled “upstairs.”
Although the break room is upstairs, “upstairs” is the term that everyone seems to use as a general reference to security – the inscrutable eye-in-the-sky whose inner workings and power are an enigma that even we don’t fully understand.
So if I want to watch something different, I have to become my own nomadic remote control. To change the channel, I must change rooms.
One room has ESPN. I typically skip this room, however, as I have usually memorized early-morning Sportscenter after watching it all morning in the empty Poker Room.
Another room has Spike TV. Usually, a CSI-esque show is playing. I either get to see the first half of the episode (in which somebody is murdered, a loved one cries about it, an obvious person is brought in for questioning, and then one of the doctors or cops does something “shocking” to promote out-of-the-box thinking) or the second half of the episode (in which they do some more questioning and autopsies, the obvious person who was brought in for questioning is also killed, and then they figure out that the murderer is the original loved one who cried in the beginning (who inevitably confesses it all right there in the interrogation room, offering some warped justification)).
Another room has CNN. But I avoid knowing about the world as much as I can.
Believe it or not, the room I have been spending the most time in recently is the Lifetime room.
Between episodes of Reba, Will & Grace, and The New Adventures of Old Christine, I vaguely take note of the commercials featuring images of tampons, NuvaRings and Patrick Dempsey. You know, vagina things.
I typically go through the commercial break in a daze, as none of the commercials really apply to me.
I’m not interested in joining Weight Watchers (not even when Charles Barkley is able to formulate a sentence about how it worked for him).
Sorry, Olay. I already love the skin I’m in (Whenever I hear “Love the Skin You’re In,” I always think: “Love the Skin Urine,” which has connotations that really creep me out).
And don’t even get me started on Grey’s Anatomy. Years ago, I watched the first season, and I’ll be damned if I watch one more second of Ellen Pompeo being an emotional, self-destructive lunatic, Katherine Heigl being Katherine Heigl, or Patrick Dempsey being, as I said before, a huge vagina.
I don’t know why I sit there in the Lifetime Room, wasting away my valuable break. The sitcoms that are played in the early morning hours have nothing meaningful to add to my life. And my brain takes a short vacation during the commercials, barely noticing anything on the screen.
But then this commercial came up:
Now, this is the kind of movie that I had heard is the only kind of movie that Lifetime plays – movies about unfaithful husbands who beat and/or murder their wives. And I get that. It is what works for them. It is something that piques the interest of its target demographic.
That’s not what irks me.
What angers me is the commercial itself. Does this really sell?
Do women watch this because it incorporates a wife-killing sociopath played by the oh-so-versatile Rob Lowe wearing an atrocious-looking mustache? Or do they watch it in spite of this?
Do they tune in because they need to know if she lives to see the garage door fixed?
Or do they watch it to see if he really is “untouchable, bitch.”
Is it the way that he says it? In such a cocky and self-satisfied manner that he completely ignores a comma: “I’m untouchable bitch.”
Do women see this, the one line he utters in the commercial, as a challenge? Do they let out a unified, “OH NO HE DIDUNT” as they set their TiVos?
I need to know.
For I fear that it is only until I understand Drew Peterson that I will finally understand women.
Or perhaps I will not understand women until I understand the people that make the movies and commercials for Lifetime Original Movies.
I beg of you, o women of the world.
I am opening the garage door of my heart to you. Please grant me the wisdom to comprehend your infinite mysteries.
Please, help me to understand.