“Oh, is that where your priorities are?” my best friend of more than twenty years chuckled over the phone. “I guess I’ll let you go then.”
I didn’t have time to explain. The clock was ticking towards the beginning of a weekly event that has been taking place for years. I heard another friend walking into the door, ready to commence our traditional gathering. The always incredibly ridiculous and messy Bachelor franchise was about to appear on the screen in our living room.
“Bye, Jas,” my friend on the phone said. “We’ll talk later.”
I’ve always had a TV, but I never used to watch television. I once moved out of an apartment and accidentally left the TV there because I had never turned it on. It sounds strange, but I completely forgot that I had ever owned a TV. I had to drive back and meet up with the roommate who called me about the TV in the first place.
Before moving into the apartment with my sister and another friend, I would occasionally watch YouTube videos and documentaries on my laptop. It was more for background noise while I sat on my bed doing something else than anything. However, in 2013, when I moved to Orange County, California, for grad school, I discovered television.
Monday nights became a time for gathering friends together with bottles of wine. The Bachelor franchise became a rallying force for friendship. For years, dinner was made and shared, friends laughed, and we all bonded over the drama that unfolded on the screen. Although the majority of the time I would end up falling asleep watching the drama on our communal lazy boy chair, the show was a way to bring us out of our rooms and connect.
I didn’t have time to explain it over the phone, but I thought about how the silly show that I love to hate was no longer going to be a designated section of our lives for gathering together.
“We could Facetime each other while watching it after you guys move,” another friend who came over to our apartment weekly suggested.
“It’s hard to be interested in this show if you are not watching it together with friends,” said another friend referring to the weekly airing of The Bachelorette.
Every single one of us knew that we only continued watching the show to hang out with each other. We knew that I wouldn’t watch the show, let alone turn on the TV if we weren’t gathering each week over wine and snacks. When we moved, it would be the end of years of meeting up at least once a week. What I wanted to say to my friend over the phone as I looked at the mountain of boxes in the corner packed to the brim was that I was making sure that I was present for the last scheduled time that I will ever get together with these women in our pajamas and with pizza to bond. Everything has changed after six years of watching The Bachelor together, and it will never be the same.