(This is my Lanterne Rouge column for this month. Obviously, it was written just as the Olympics started. I breathed a sigh of relief when it was over, and had just enough time to draw another breath before the Democratic convention started. Lucky me.)
Lyndsay wanted to watch the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. I left the room, knowing that if I stayed, the television coverage would be annoying. I gave up on the Olympics many years ago because I'd prefer to see the events in their entirety, not chopped up in bite-size pieces. If the networks covered football that way, the fans would storm the television stations with torches and pitchforks.
Sure enough, about an hour later, she stormed into the bedroom where I was tinkering with my laptop. "They had a parade of these random nations, just all tossed together! And some of them had to be made up. Who ever heard of Shree Lumpum Looie? It's all fake! And they aren't even in alphabetical order! They have no organization!"
Miss Neatness has everything placed just so in her room. Her closet is organized by colors and even her shoes are lined up. I said, "Maybe they're not in alphabetical order because the Olympics are in China and they don't use an alphabet. They're Chinese. They use ideograms."
"Oh, yeah" she replied, applying a thick layer of sarcasm for her obviously befuddled father, "They have the parade according to the number of marks on a country's character. That's not right, it should be alphabetical, then it would make sense!"
She left in a huff, presumably to watch more Olympics coverage and get even more upset.
I found my headphones and plugged them into the computer, selecting some music that wouldn't interrupt my reading.
The next interval was shorter. The door flew open and she bounced in again. "They're waving flags around and they have these little boxes going up and down. There's music and a light show. I thought this was supposed to be athletics! I really want to see the gymnastics!" All this was loud enough to penetrate my headphones. I tried to rivet my attention on a description of a U-boat attack in the First World War, but it was not to be. I made eye contact, so I couldn't pretend she wasn't there.
"You might want to check the network schedule and see when the gymnastics will be on," I replied. "And I think NBC is offering them on their website too, so if you miss the broadcast, you can still see the events. Regardless, it's going to be stiff with commercials."
She left again, an exasperated sigh trailing along behind her, the kind of sigh a teenager uses upon discovering that the world does not operate according to their whim.
Seconds later, she returned. "These commercials as so stupid!"
I didn't even look up. "Turn it off and read a book." I could hear her eyes rolling from across the room. When she left, I gave passing thought to simply bricking up the door until the Olympics ended. I think I can survive in here on the odd candy bar and water from the bathroom tap. It wouldn't be so bad and I can certainly afford to lose a few pounds.