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Stream of Consciousness…


I just watched the series finale of Mad Men and felt like I was losing a good friend. I hate to admit it, but because this series originated in 2007, I could probably start watching from the beginning and not remember much of anything until I got to about mid-way. I am blaming this on chemo brain, although I suspect it has more to do with a short attention span than any biological shortcomings.

Actually, that’s not even accurate. My memory lapses can often be blamed on the simple fact that I apparently don’t know how to sit still and pay attention. So before my train of thought jumps the tracks (all aboard the ADHD express), I want to talk about streaming.

For some reason, when I’m watching Netflix or Amazon Prime, I am able not only to pay close attention; I have to pace myself so I don’t wear out my peepers! With all due respect to the field in which I spent most of my career (advertising – which explains my obsession with Mad Men) I think I love streaming because there are no commercials.

Luckily, I recently stumbled upon two great Netflix originals: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Grace and Frankie. If you aren’t already a Netflix enthusiast, you should be. (Note: Netflix has not paid me to say this, but I wish they would so I could just stay home and stream!)

I began my love affair with Netflix back when they mailed me DVDs in cute little reusable red envelopes. My how things have changed! Perhaps they still send out DVDs, I couldn’t tell you, because I stopped using that portion of their service years ago. Now, all I use Netflix for is streaming. I say that like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I still haven’t managed to grasp how radio waves can fly through the air, so don’t count on me for technical advice.

What I do know about streaming is the beauty of being able to watch an entire series in a single sitting – if you don’t have a life. (Or if you deem the lives of the characters in the program you are watching as way more interesting than your own!) And for the time being at least, streaming is much less expensive than going to a movie. Sadly, I think it’s less expensive than the popcorn!

woman with a tv remoteBut wait, I need to get back to The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The series (co-created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock) follows 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt as she adjusts to life in New York City after her rescue from a doomsday cult in Indiana. And it’s a comedy! Since I’m the oldest of six kids from a family in Indiana, I know a thing or two about wanting to be rescued, or at the very least, adopted. Perhaps that is why I find it so amusing.

Grace and Frankie is another somewhat dark comedy that just premiered in early May, so I’m still in the thrall of having unwatched episodes. I’ve just finished number six and actually find myself wanting to slow down because the series (much like a great book or delicious meal) is so good I don’t want it to be over.

Perhaps I have a perverse sense of humor (you think?) because the premise of Grace and Frankie is they learn that their husbands have fallen in love with each other and want to get married. What can I say? It’s refreshing to know other people (even if they are fictional) have issues I can’t even fathom. I mean, I’m still asking myself how I would feel if Bruce Jenner was my dad. Somehow the word that keeps popping into my head is rich – which I’m pretty sure means I’m shallow.

It’s also refreshing to see women of a certain age as the main characters – and it doesn’t hurt that the protagonists are played by Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. The chemistry of their yin and yang and their comedic timing is priceless.

Sure, both of these series deal with issues that can be uncomfortable, or in some cases and for some people, downright upsetting. But in a world so often filled with really uncomfortable stuff like war, terrorism, disease and misanthropy – sometimes I just need a few laugh out loud moments. And both of these shows provide plenty.

There are lots of other moments as well. You know – moments I can identify with but don’t have to actually experience. Moments that make me think and understand that not everyone thinks and/or feels the way I do. Moments that make me realize that even in those instances when I don’t agree with someone – if I wait a moment I will find something upon which we can agree.

At the present moment, I’m marveling that laughing out loud not only feels good, but in this particular instance, it’s done something I didn’t anticipate, it has apparently raised my empathy and awareness just a smidgen. Do you think it’s appropriate to call this a streaming of consciousness?

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