The Loh Life

The Heat, Part Four: Breaking Bad, Goodbye

Sandra Tsing Loh misses the big finale.

So, last night was the finale of Breaking Bad.  My peers and I have become obsessed with the show because we are all Walter White.  We are all 50-year-old high school chemistry teachers with a few too many unpaid medical bills standing around in our white underpants.  Which is how he began, anyway.

We are hapless people living in a purgatory, a desert - a blasted Albuquerque, New Mexico - of midlife.  Just the complaints I hear from my peers, in a typical week?  These are the Sandwich Generation Monologues-

Of one's insane condo association, full of ADHD types, too addled to meet-

Of Anthem Blue Cross- A friend opened his plan, saw that starting December 15 his premium would triple, and - a lifelong Democrat - began yelling, "Is this Obamacare?  Did Michelle sign off on this?  What?"

By contrast, I myself had a pretty good week.  On a trip out with my 92-year-old dad, my sister leaned forward as we waited and gushed: "Yelp speaks very highly of this social security office."  That's right - the social security office is on Yelp.

I got two fillings at the dentist, who I used to dread seeing, but now I have to admit I kind of enjoy it.  For 90 minutes, you're trapped in a chair, cut off from the world.  The phone started ringing - it was from my sixth grader's school, probably calling about her eternally late homework- The dentist asked, "Do you need to get that?"  And I exclaimed triumphantly: "I literally can't!" pointing to the tubes in my mouth.  Said my friend Marcia, "The high point of MY week was my colonoscopy."

So, don't blame us if our weekly escape and guilty pleasure is large satchels of Salt 'n' Pepper Kettle Chips and Breaking Bad.

But then it happens.  My partner Charles and I are settling ourselves in anticipation, as the familiar twangy guitar music begins and the Periodic Table Scrabble letters float toward us- And the screen goes black, and that horrible little wheel appears.  "Accessing Netflix."  WHAT? we howl in disbelief.

Charles snatches our Apple TV remote, which is about the size of a stick of gum, and starts frantically punching away.  It makes sounds like, "Pook!  Pook!  Pook!"  But, the little wheel just keeps spinning.

It does not help when I yell: "Are you kidding me?  Walter White would yoke three sponges together, soak them in vinegar, pull out a dental filling or two, and we would be watching paid boxing, for free!"

The night ended in darkness, a silence fell over the house, and that's when we moved to an RV in the desert!  No - but maybe it's a new series to pitch.  The lengths middle-aged people will go to... when their favorite show is no more.


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