Are we still saying “cocooning”? Or did we leave that behind in the 90s? What are we saying now for when the holidays are over, it’s 12 degrees outside and you just want to hole up inside your own home on the new sofa with a down throw, a companionable sweetheart and the remote?* Because that’s where I’m at right now.

I thought I hit paydirt when I stumbled across Celebrity Wife Swap. I’m a long time fan of regular Wife Swap, although by default. Trading Spouses was by far the superior show. They had a weirder set of featured spouses – people who ate food 3 month old food that wasn’t refrigerated, God Warriors and women who are “intolerant to smokers, overweight people, homeless people, Mexicans or anybody who makes her nervous.” They also had a $50,000.00 payoff at the end with an astonishing surprise to the the families – the temporary spouse decided how the money would be spent for the family. The tears were absolutely genuine and of the You Asshole! – I was gonna to use that money for a new car and a cruise and now I’m stuck with a piano, ten sessions with a marriage counselor and two bank accounts for my kids type and less of the you have insulted me and made me cry so I’m going to a hotel until this is over type.

EN-EEE-WAY, Celerity Wife Swap. The first time I came across it, I couldn’t get the sound to work on the TV so I entertained myself by trying to guess what they were saying. The next day, all was well with the TV and I saw another episode complete with sound. Totally boring. No conflict, no drama. Tears, but tears of internally generated awe for the other family for things like eating dinner together.  And the celebrities are people like Flavor Flav and Carnie Wilson. So in the end it was a big letdown.

There’s very little TV that we can watch together as a couple. Sami is willing to watch almost anything and get involved with it, but he is predicable in his reactions no matter what the program is: the fathers are cold and bad and the women are sneaky bitches. He has no tolerance for brainless sitcoms and he doesn’t see the point of re-watching a favorite movie. So that leaves us with a DVD of Downton Abbey and countdown until the new season of Mad Men starts.


* I could have falsely written “a good book” there to make myself look better, but frankly, I’m still depressed that Budd Schulberg’s widow has not made a deal with the Kindle people yet. I still buy vintage hardcovers from**, but not for things I suspect I’ll be reading only once.

** Latest purchase: The End of the Innocence: The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair one of the rare occaisions when I spent more than $1.00 for an old book online. I hope it’s not crappy. I paid $9.00 for it.

“On the eve of opening day, a 12 billion candlepower beam of light was turned on over the fairgrounds, visible from New Haven, Connecticut, to Atlantic City, New Jersey, and outshining Times Square. Soon the world’s largest fountain would be turned on and a 610-bell carillon would ring out `There’s No Business Like Show Business.’ Already a highly contentious political battleground and social phenomenon, `the single greatest event in history’ was finally about to begin.”

How could that be crappy? I hope it’s not crappy.

13 thoughts on “Cocooning”

  1. When you are done with that book, read The Devil and The White City, which is about the previous Fair to End All Fairs, the Chicago Exposition of 1893, plus you get a serial killer thrown in for good measure. Plus, it’s available on Kindle.

  2. You say cocooning, I say common sense. And I tried to watch Celebrity Wife Swap but like you say, after seeing screaming fits, hostile children, and futile “life changes”, it was bland.

  3. I’ve been cocooning for the past two days, only I didn’t know that’s what it’s called. I call it ‘shutdown’. I went to Texas for 11 days to visit my daughter and her family. When I returned home on New Year’s Eve afternoon, my son and his girlfriend had already arrived from New Hampshire and were in the making cookies in my kitchen. The party was at my house (small, 8 people, but I couldn’t just go to bed at 9:00 like I wanted to). Son and GF left at 6 AM yesterday, so I’ve pretty much shut down for the past two days. I’m completely enjoying it. I did finally unpack late yesterday afternoon, in a valiant search for clean underwear. Successful, so I still haven’t done laundry.

  4. Whatever it’s called go for it! I had a week of it between Christmas and New Year and it was the best thing to happen to me in quite a while. Read 3 great books and played words with friends. This is living! Not what I’d want to do forever, but it was a fantastic break.
    What ever show you end up watching I hope it satisfies completely. There are no current shows that satisfy me completely. My TV watching has dropped off to almost nothing.

  5. We call it cocooning too, but DH’s incessant channel-surfing has made me hate tv. He’s only content to watch one thing if it’s on a dvd. We’re working our way through past seasons of Top Gear and Foyle’s War.

  6. My husband got to appear on the outdoor stage at the 64-65 Fair in a “battle of the bands” contest. He must’ve been 15 or 16. He said the band was so bad they didn’t even place.

    When we lived in NYC, my favorite thing about flying out of or in to La Guardia airport was driving past the fairgounds and seeing the rusting hulks of the Fair structures — especially the Unisphere.

  7. I recommend “1939 – The Lost World of the Fair” by David Gelertner, who is a fine writer. His other claim to fame is that he was a victim of the Unibomber, when a package exploded in his hads, causing the loss of one.

    The book is chock full of observations about the differences between 1939 and now, along with lots of information and pictures of the fair. Excellent book!

  8. Hello Suzette — let me recommend a book for you. “In the Garden of Beasts” by Eric Larsen (referenced above as the author of “Devil in the White City”, also a terrific read). In 1933, FDR appointed William Dodd, a history professor and ardent New deal supporter, as his Ambassador to Germany. The book covers the period of 1933-37 in Berlin, as the Nazis gained power and began to consolidate their rule. The experiences of Dodd, a political naif, and his family (including Wild Child daughter Martha, who goes from dating the Berlin head of the Gestapo to a serious romance with a KGB agent) are an introduction to the period evoked by Isherwood and Shirer. Fantastic detail on the rise of the Nazis and their sinister yet fascinating era.

    1. My bad. It is in fact Devil *In* the White City.

      Several fascinating aspects to it besides the overall story. 1) The degree to which medical quackery caused damage (Hello, vaccination deniers!!) and 2) how little people were kept track of, as opposed to today. People fell off the map in large numbers.

  9. Ooooooo cocooning I’d forgotten that one. We did that one night last week. We watched an old Starsky and Hutch where they had to go into a mental hospital to save the crusading journalist played by Suzanne Sommers. One online summary of the show said the cast dressed as if they had shopped at Topio Gigio’s yard sale.

    It was followed by an episode of I Spy.

    Now THAT’S good viewin’!

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