September 16th, 2002


Visiting Hours

I was stretched out on my couch Thursday night watching a rerun of the “Scrubs” season finale.

As far as my TV palate’s concerned, I don’t watch sitcoms much. My preference is more along the lines of sports, HBO, and any Discovery Channel program that features monkeys, lions or army ants.

But several months ago, Chuck, who’s a boob tube whore, went out of his way to get me to check out “Scrubs.” He said it was the funniest show on television; plus Charles – a friend of Chuck’s – pops up every once in a while as Dr. Wen (If you watch the show, he’s the surgeon who sings along to the old Asian favorite “A Little Respect” during an operation.). So I saw an episode and, lo and behold, I ended up adding the show to my TiVo roster.

Back to me being stretched out on my couch, watching a rerun of the “Scrubs” season finale. There’s a scene where the main character JD walks into the hospital entrance. I sat up. I instantly recognized the building, with its humorless, aging cream exterior. Except I always come in from the other side, where the visitor parking is located. It was my baby sister’s hospital.

It’s been a week since I’ve been there, since my sister finally returned home last Saturday after completing her first round of chemo. As happy as we all were that she finally got to leave, I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much time alone with my baby sister as I did during those three weeks she was in that hospital.

On weekdays, it’d often be just me and her. I’d drive over after work, and by then my parents would be heading home, exhausted from spending the entire day there. Sometimes she and I would flip through the magazines I’d brought over. Or we’d just kick back and watch old sitcoms as I wolfed down a Balance Bar.

But mostly we talked. About everything.

When this is all over, I’ll remember those visiting hours the most. Not because they made me realize that “Everybody Loves Raymond” is actually pretty funny. But because they reminded me how truly lucky I am to be her brother.

Lord knows why guys have these self-destructive impulses. Why we repeatedly seek out relationships with women who’ll use us. Engage in extreme forms of recreation that’ll kill us. Or rent movies that we know will affect our brains the same way cold water affects our other brain.

On this particular night it was “Blade 2.”

After watching the original years ago, I told myself that, although I enjoyed the action sequences, I would never again pay money to see a film that has vampires dancing to techno. It’s just morally wrong, like pants for dogs. I reminded myself of this when I was pacing back and forth in the DVD aisles of Blockbuster. Clearly there were better options, such as “Shallow Hal” or “The New Guy.” But the heart wants what the heart wants.

Another movie. The film du nuit was “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Not really a chick flick. More like a 90-minute ethnic joke. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it. Film historians will point to this movie as the moment when Americans were introduced to the wondrous gratification of laughing at Greek people.

I take pleasure in my mellow weekends like any other bloke; but a weekend without alcohol sometimes confuses my body into thinking it’s one long Wednesday. Silly Rabbit. Consequently, I was ready to snooze after the movie was over. I tried to fight it by watching “The Anna Nicole Show,” but eventually the sleep just swarmed in and I was out.