Friday, June 1, 2007

A strange show I trespass upon

At midnight on BBC television begins the strangest show in the world; and not strange as in wacky. A girl-next door type with pencil straight blond hair and a full homely, and tall body, speaks to the camera from a studio, where apart from the minimal crew, she is alone, accompanied by the eerie bursts of studio canned laughter. She smiles often, amused at her own digressions, and displays nice dimples. There is something about the way she confidently uses her tapering fingers to point at the screen that fills me with desire for a perfectly neat, working class femininity.

Those innocent manicured nails are so blameless compared to my bitten, bitter ones. She is pointing to a box of letters displayed on the screen, from which viewers must construct a word. It is a 'snake-word' she repeats often and cheerfully, and I understand this is something common I should know. She is waiting for viewers to call in with the answer and win fantastic amounts of money; £1,500 for a snake-word. But so that the programme can make money, they must allow as many people as possible to ring in on premium-rate lines, and she must pass the time, strolling and jiggling around a bit, raising her eyebrows in mock-quizzicalness, teasing the viewer with "now, I wonder what it could be". She protests she doesn't know the answer herself, as otherwise she would foolishly blurt it out. We warm to her for this. She is like us, but as she reminds us, she cannot win the money!

I am in awe of how she keeps us this pleasant banter with the camera. She is nice. I believe she is nice and she is lacking in any kind of awkwardness. The calls come through and she is delighted, addressing the TV station's victims as honey, sweetie, darling. I believe she means what she says; it is easy for her to be kind. Perhaps she does love them and find them affecting in her own way, and is pleased when they win. She does not cry tears for those with the wrong answer, though. She moves on jauntily with her smile, only stopping to gently chastise viewers for not listening to previous wrong answers like the pretty primary school teacher all the children adore.

I, insomniac, am watching this too, yet I am a trespasser on other's hopeful ground; my face frowns in cynicism and awe, their faces tremble with expectation and delight and then disappointment that quickly passes. I don't blame them, the TV viewers, for their desire to believe it is good, it is for them; the show is fun, and only a game. I blame myself for being left out and sickened. Maybe I make myself sick by not being loved a little by her because if she saw my face, hers might darken and lose its dimples, and I would not want to spoil this innocent fun for others. Would I?

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