Monday, December 1, 2008

There's no place like Law & Order

Dorothy may have found home over the rainbow with Aunty Emm and the gang at the Kansas homestead, but as I spent week after week in different hotels in strange towns, I found home in a very different place. Clicking the heels of her red shoes is what took Dorothy home and clicking the buttons on a TV remote is what takes me.

After several weeks on the road, trying to find a bedtime routine that could help this insomniac find a sense of comfort and familiarity (and failing miserably), I finally found the key that I had been searching for. It was the fourth night in a row where I was still flipping channels at 3am, and I landed on a show that instantly calmed my restlessness. It wasn't the first time I had seen it--I had been watching it more and more frequently throughout my travels, but this was the first time I recognized my heartbeat slowing, my breath steadying, and my head hitting the pillow in contentment as Goren & Eames quipped witty penal code banter on the glowing screen of my hotel room TV. I knew that I was powerless to resist as my fingers relaxed their death grip on the remote and it partially fell out of my hand--now I would have to engage my brain in order to properly position my fingers back on the correct buttons in order to keep my usual all-night channel flipping vigil. This was serious.

Scenes from the past weeks of travel flashed through my mind: Hoboken, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Tucson...wherever I was and whatever time it may be some channel ALWAYS had one version or another of Law & Order playing. The characters became my best friends, my dinner dates, my bedtime lullaby. No matter where I was they were always there. They made tonight's generic hotel room familiar, comfy, like home. Escaping into the gritty, violent, seamy underside of NYC with these flawed, quirky detectives as my tour guides became my sleeping pill. As long as I could hear that unmistakable Law & Order music and watch the detectives fight with their captain, the DA, and the perps--I was at peace.

And now that I am home--no longer on the road--I still find myself addicted to this show. It has a hold on me. I keep trying to quit, but find myself sneaking another hit. Recording episodes on my DVR. Saving episodes I've already watched as an emergency stash. Just in case. I never know when I'll find myself fighting the Wicked Witch of Wakefulness, and need the magic. In fact, right now my trigger fingers are a little itchy--it's time to click that remote and repeat, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." (Well, no place like the major case squad, anyway...One Police Plaza, here I come!)

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