THE TWILIGHT ZONE--I don't watch TV. That is, except for The Twilight Zone—the mystery slash supernatural slash good old-fashioned short story twist ending sci-fi show from the 60s.
For most of junior year, The Twilight Zone was my Friday night. Exhausted from the week, I’d come home in the afternoon, drop my thousand-pound backpack in the kitchen, and escape to the living room, where I closed the shutters, one by one, to block the brightness. I would sink into the leather couch, turn on the flat screen, and play episode after episode.
There were always snacks. Sometimes bagged popcorn, other times breakfast carbs reinvented in the toaster and slathered with butter: French toast, William’s Sonoma “rustic pumpkin” pancakes, dense berry batter-balls from a company named Sconehendge. Drinks ranged from iced milk to water, hot chocolate to cider to green tea to chai.
Loyal to depicting unreality, the show proves itself relevant to our unbelievable world today. In November, in journalism, I wrote that Trump’s election, absurd and asking for suspension of disbelief, felt like an event out of the series. Now, having lived eight months with such news, and having often visited The Twilight Zone to avoid the startling eeriness of reality, I have to thank the show for distracting me through those grueling months.
There's an old saying that succeeding in a lie is to pull the wool over one’s eyes. This year, The Twilight Zone succeeded. Wool seems like a harsh material, considering my pleasure for this abstraction. The Twilight Zone was my sleep mask, a spacey purple silk printed with galaxies and swirling stars. A cashmere robe belt, on sabbatical from its usual work, tied with great consideration across my sight An intricately patterned handicap, a distraction as complete and as fascinating as the story told by any Asian vase-print, or the melancholy cranes of any silk chemise.
A diversion from the horrifying creature who’d assumed our highest office, The Twilight Zone gave me men who sat in astronaut chambers and thought themselves singular souls in empty towns. It introduced me to Death the Hitchhiker and to a thirty-something who manages to revisit his childhood by walking there. It took me to a planet used as mausoleums, to an office where a playwright pens himself a mistress, to foreign deserts belonging seemingly to distant galaxies but actually, to remote terrain located home on earth.
The show’s crazy, and oftentimes disturbing, mutilations of reality kept me from similar projections of our country’s course. While watching the show, I was in a different world, as though underwater. Ensconcing myself in this alternate reality to escape my own, I was like a child christening myself into a mermaid with rubber-banded ankles, or chasing sunken pennies in a self-proclaimed Olympic competition.
Though I could faintly make out the sounds of CNN’s reporting from the smaller, shittier TV in the kitchen, in the den I was emancipated from such concerns. When the words President and Trump were strung together like two beads on an ill-matched—in color, in form—summer-camp lanyard, too late for correction, I burrowed deeper into the couch. When the parameters of the true world infringed upon my facade, I turned up the volume. The Twilight Zone, gifting me exterior mania, kept me from the interior mania threatening to consume me in those months.
The Twilight Zone was the unreality restraining me from the true unreality, and the psychedelic nostrum suspending me—in failing space-ships, in sinking U-boats, in reach of dehydration’s desert-effects—saving me from myself.