Sunday, December 21, 2008

Much ado about "The Wire"

I can hear the icy rain hitting the top of my air conditioner. In a few minutes I'll venture out to the gym, scope the state of the sidewalks and streets on the 2 block walk. I am up early, but feel rested, ready. Yesterday, day one of 14 days off, I went to the gym, cleaned, did some knitting, made pea soup, went to the police precinct, watched the first three episodes of season 1 of "The Wire."

Those last two are not connected in any way but my brain. But sitting in the precinct, again, waiting, I had the opportunity to eavesdrop on two interesting conversations - one, a heated debate over whose jurisdiction (if that is the correct term) a recent arrest should have been (complete with several carefully constructed scenarios of "what if"), and a grumbling by a cop of how she hates doing all the paperwork for a missing teenager when the kid just shows up anyway. "But you have to," said the desk sergeant/dispatcher/man standing on the raised platform, "what would the public think if a kid's body washed up and nobody had been looking for her because you didn't do the paperwork?" I'm not sure if this last was for me, the lone civilian, sitting on a hard plastic hair waiting for a detective to bring me a copy of my police report, trying not to appear as if I'm listening, but how could I not?

It's very strange to me that I have enjoyed my two visits there, observing. Is it a desire to draw a parallel between the detective shows/novels I read, and the reality which exists just a few blocks from me? If it weren't for the guns (because, you see, I am always hyper-aware of the fact that each person in the room has a gun strapped to his or her belt - my eye drops to it almost immediately, as if by seeing it I won't be surprised if it's used), I probably could sit there contentedly for hours more.

I don't know why it took me so long to start watching "The Wire." It's only been touted as the best television ever created, by more than one critic. But I get it now - there is something very fresh about the way the story is being told, something not-like-TV, but immensely rewarding. I hear it gets better, and I can't wait. How quickly can those little red Netflix envelopes wind their way back and forth so that I don't wait too long between episodes?


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