There’s a moment in the movie Apollo 13 where Tom Hanks’ character says, “Gentleman, we just lost the moon.”
Yesterday afternoon we lost Lost, and learned an important lesson in the process.
As I’ve written about before, we’ve had to buy all the appliances for this condo, since the previous owners took absolutely everything with them when the bank foreclosed on their loan.
We held off on buying a washer and dryer for almost eight months. We planned to use the appliances from our home in Eagle River, until we discovered they were far too large for our condo’s tiny laundry closet. Then we told ourselves that we’d buy new laundry appliances when the Eagle River house sold. But as the months dragged on, driving our laundry three hours, round-trip, became more and more wearisome.
We placed a special order for a GE washer and dryer, which in Alaska usually means a month-long wait. I called Home Depot when we got home from our recent vacation, and found out that yes, our appliances had arrived. We arranged to have them delivered and installed last Thursday.
The delivery guys arrived as scheduled, but we discovered that we needed an alternate venting solution. Three days, and three trips to Anchorage later, we had a slender, periscope-like vent, and people ready to help us install.
But here’s where Lost comes into the picture. We started the install yesterday afternoon, discovered we needed the periscope vent, drove to Anchorage and back, and kept working on the install. At almost 8 p.m., when we still had lots to do, we looked at each other and said, “We just lost Lost.” The series finale, “The End,” began at 8 p.m.
We still haven’t seen “The End.” We’ll have to track it down on Hulu. But we do have a washer and dryer, and we don’t have to drive 100 miles just to visit them.
The producers of Lost (and ABC’s advertisers) instilled in us the “need” to watch each episode faithfully, and to find out the answers to the show’s never-ending questions. It’s very easy to sit on the couch for an hour every week to watch the show. It’s harder, and much less interesting, to install a washer and dryer in a tiny laundry closet.
So, what’s the payout for all those hours of watching Lost? A final episode that (maybe) answers all the questions the show raises.
And the payout for installing the washer and dryer? I don’t have to drive to Eagle River to do laundry. I can do a small load of laundry every day, rather than waiting until almost all our clothes are dirty to make the great laundry trek. The looming pile of dirty clothes will no longer occupy one corner of our bedroom. I’ll get hours of my life back, and shrink my carbon footprint dramatically.
If you asked Jim Lovell, the Apollo 13 astronaut, whether he’d rather have the moon, or his life, I’m pretty sure he’d choose his life. We make this kind of choice almost every day. Do I want to eat this banana split–or be healthy and fit well into my 80s or 90s? Would I like to sit on the couch–or have the energy level that only daily exercise can give? Would I like to work most of my waking hours–or make time for self-care and nurturing my primary relationships?
In a way, it was liberating to lose Lost. Until it happened, I didn’t recognize the hold it had on my life. Now I can say, “Yes, I’d like to watch the finale of Lost. But on my own terms.”