Doing Stranger Things in Bed

“I think this has really spiced things up under the covers,” I said to John coquettishly early Sunday morning. We were both basking in the afterglow of our Saturday night.


“Whoa…. that was intense,” agreed John. “There is certainly more happening there than there was before,” he observed, with that look of raw satisfaction in his hazel eyes.


“Can we maybe go to bed early tonight?” I suggested nonchalantly, hoping John hadn’t picked up on the hint of desperation I was trying to disguise in my voice.


“No, I think we should pace ourselves,” he tentatively offered. “Let’s maybe do it once a week.”


Jake and Micah had been raving about Stranger Things, a show on Netflix, and suggested we watch. They are excellent arbiters of both popular culture and their parents’ tastes but I was skeptical about devoting precious time to a show that has strong sci-fi elements (I was one of the few people who never watched Star Trek). But at a loss for how else to entertain ourselves last Saturday night John fired up his computer, logged onto Netflix, and we crawled under the covers at 8:30 pm.


We binge watched four episodes. This series is a wild ride – eerily addictive plot, brilliant pacing, talented actors (Winona Ryder is the lead). Let’s just say Stranger Things had never happened in our bedroom before. I was just getting warmed up and wanted to keep going to the show’s climax. I was ready to go all night – it was that good. John, however, insisted it was time to power things down and delay gratification. It was 12:30 pm after all. Imagine. On a Saturday night.


Our different personalities (I want it NOW; John wants to savour it even more LATER) has made us strange bedfellows in our mutual enjoyment of Stranger Things. This is just a small slice of what it is like living with someone who would have passed the Marshmallow Test with flying colours when he was a kid.


If you aren’t old enough to remember this famous psychological experiment, here are the high points: Stanford prof Walter Mischel did experiments on small kids in the 1960s. He gave them a marshmallow before leaving them alone in a room, and said that he would give them an extra one if they waited to eat it until he returned. The kids who could delay gratification were found to have higher SAT scores, greater resilience and better social skills when they grew up than their immediate gratification peers.


This explains a lot. Like why John is able to work with so many people while I write alone holed up in my attic office. And why he was a top scholar while I spent most of my university years in aerobics class. Or, why he can stay up all night calmly focused on a critical deadline while I burst into tears frantic that I’ll miss mine. It also explains why I am constantly finding half-eaten chocolate bars in our fridge. And why John often asks in irritation, “Do you know where the chocolate I put in the fridge ended up?” It also explains why I almost cheated on him this afternoon and watched Stranger Things in secret.


But I didn’t. I will wait till he is ready and know I will appreciate it that much more. Did I mention that Season 2 starts the week of Hallowe’en? Don’t send your kids to our house for candy. We will be doing Stranger Things in bed.


Photo credit: Unsplash – Steinar Engeland

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