Saturday, April 30, 2011

That's What She Said

Spoiler alert: if you haven't watched this week's episode of The Office, then stop reading RIGHT now!!!! Wait, I'm not really revealing any spoilers. If you don't know Michael is leaving The Office you deserve to have that spoiled for you. But honestly, if you haven't watched the episode yet, you are an idiot. I live in India and I managed to watch it right away. Yeah, an addict always knows where to get a fix. Always.

Michael Scott left Dunder Mifflin. It is a day I never thought I would see, especially since Dunder Mifflin is still standing and open for business.

I have been a huge fan from the very first episode. How could you not love this show? It has everything. A boss who hosts an office awards show. A crazy paint-balling, beet farm owning sidekick. A receptionist turned artist turned office manager. A guy in love with said receptionist turned artist turned office manager. A man who has done millions of crossword puzzles when he should be working. Creed.

No matter where I lived at in the world, I always had The Office.

I was flying home from Honduras during the Season 2 finale. I double and triple checked that my tivo was set to record the whole episode. The morning of my departure: road blocks. People were protesting something, I can't remember what it was now but it took me hours to get to the airport instead of the twenty minutes it should have. I didn't miss my flight and managed to get back home and watch the finale without anyone spoiling what had happened with Jim and Pam.

I was living in India (the first time) when my dad (who is the best dad ever) spent $50 to send me Season 3 when it came out on DVD. I had it less than a week after it was released in America.

When Season 4 started and I was still in India, I sat in a very sweaty and smelly internet cafe for well over an hour attempting to load the opening episode. It took the entire hour to stream 3 minutes before the internet stalled and crashed. Oh what a glorious 3 minutes they were!

When I moved to Zambia I didn't know how I was going to manage. 2 whole years without new episodes of The Office? This was going to be a challenge. I moved to Zambia prepared with my Office t-shirts, my Dwight bobblehead, and an iPod loaded with 3 full seasons and all the new episodes from Season 4.

Every Thursday was still The Office day for me. I would watch an episode every Thursday on my tiny scratched iPod screen. This became a ritual for me. I lived for Thursdays. Every Thursday I would dig out an American Hello Kitty fruit snack and keep this along side my painstakingly charged iPod. I would go and eat dinner with my host family, come back home, wash my face and feet, then crawl into my bed, tuck myself safely into my mosquito net, watch The Office and eat some delicious chemically flavored Hello Kitty shaped fruit snacks. You laugh (or think this is very sad), but this kept me sane.

One day my host sister Jacqueline was at my house and she picked up my iPod. I showed her how to use it, how to make the music stop and start and how to change songs. She sat there playing around with the scroll wheel when all of a sudden I hear a gasp, "Mutinta! There is a small man inside here!" She managed to turn on an episode of The Office. "It's my favorite tv show from America," I said. I quickly started to explain about all the characters and about where they work and what they do and why it is my favorite tv show. Jacqueline quickly lost interest in the show and asked me, "Yes, but this is not a tv." 

On Fridays, if I had 3 bars on my phone (meaning strong enough for internet), I would log on to nbc mobile and read about the week's new episode.  Again you laugh (or think this is very sad), but this kept me sane.

Not only did my crazy obsession with The Office keep me sane but it made me feel connected with America and with American culture. I always knew that Michael and his employees were out there, up to something hilarious and wonderful. Just thinking about those 22 minutes made me happier. It made living in a mud hut in the middle of the Zambian bush a little more bearable.

Slowly I adjusted to living without The Office. Friends would send me updates or magazine articles or dvds with new episodes on them. Pretty soon I saw living so far from America as an advantage in my Office viewing. If I wasn't living in America, I wasn't hearing all the 'news' reports about who was guest starring or seeing commercials highlighting the best 30 seconds of an episode. I could keep everything that was happening a surprise until I got back to America to binge on The Office.

That is what I did with Season 6.

Now I'm living in India (again), with much faster internet services available, and able to stream new episodes of Season 7 of The Office from the comfort of my very own bedroom. Because of the crazy time difference between America and India, my Thursdays have now become Fridays. I search and search where I can stream the episode from, then patiently wait while it takes the day (or half a day if I'm lucky) to load.

I watched Michael's last day at The Office on my lovely 17inch laptop screen in my mosquito net with the air conditioner running, in India.

"Oh, this is gonna feel so good getting this thing off my chest.

That's what she said." -Michael Scott

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