Many moons ago when my brother was visiting, he walked into the family room where the television was on.
“You're not watching that!” he guffawed, being the intellectual type that he is.
At the time, I was in hot pursuit of my daughter whilst simultaneously breast feeding my son and carrying his ‘big’ brother.
“Yes, I am!” I snapped. Probably due too many leaky hormones.
The truth of the matter was that I wanted to watch Oprah on the telly. I wanted to be like my new American pal. I wanted to fit in. I wanted 'normal.' I knew that the vast majority of the female, stay at home mom population, watched Oprah every afternoon, whilst their little kiddie winkies frolicked and played, or napped.
My new American pal was a kindly woman with a huge heart. Whenever we met, she would ask me if I had watched such and such an episode. My response was always the same, failure. She always made it sound so interesting. I always felt that I had missed something. I had.
These days, now that life has changed so much during the intervening years, I still have Oprah's broadcast available to me via TIVO. 5 episodes every week, which I dutifully delete every Sunday night. Although I have watched a few programmes between then and now, I can't watch the celebrity ones as I never know who they are, I can't watch the 'be a better looking person' ones because I am old, I can't watch the 'this tragedy happened to this person' ones, because they are too depressing.
I remember that my mother would listen to “Woman’s Hour’ on the radio every day. We children were sworn to silence or banned from the vicinity. ‘Oprah’ seemed to be the modern equivalent. I was unable to work out why such an ordinary every day pastime, was completely beyond me? Of all the things that I could or should have done to prove to myself that ‘all was well’ this would seem like a bizarre choice. I chose it precisely because it seemed so ordinary and easy. It proved to be anything but.
I decided that my failure was due to the fact that my children, none of them, enjoyed afternoon naps, whereas every other mother on the planet had a different experience. I chose to ignore the different time zones throughout the world, which I believe would be evidence of denial.
Now that I am even older but not particularly wiser, I still wonder who those women are? Who are the viewers? I suspect that even her recent programme on autism would not have reached me in the situation I experienced, nor other people, who might be similarly situated. If the programme airs at four in the afternoon, [I just checked] who will be watching?
Me? No, afraid not. I’ll be wrapped up in the homework debacle after a slightly more successful school pick-up run. The children I chase are bigger now than those far away days. It’s still just as noisy, if not noisier around here but there are more words than there once were. But I’ll give you a dare – if Oprah takes up breast feeding then I’ll watch her programme.