Thank you Netflix

Netflix is singlehandedly responsible for destroying hours of both productivity and much needed sleep with its ‘autoplay the next episode’ function. It forces you to watch even shows that you don’t particularly care for because you are just too lazy to pick up the remote and explore what else is on offer.

On one such night, I got trapped by ‘You’, a series about a charming stalker. The series began well enough. Though the said stalker jerked off into bushes, he seemed intelligent, passionate and discerning and he also helped his young neighbour escape an abusive potential step-father. All in all, a nice guy with an obsessive streak. Forgivable. But as the series went on, it got darker, more uncomfortable and very unrealistic. I continued to watch it though because I couldn’t bring myself to pick up the remote.

I took my kids and dog out for dinner the other day. They wanted to eat pasta and we passed by a newly opened Italian restaurant as we were out for an evening walk with the dog. The dinner began well enough. The manager seemed friendly, eager and was very warm to my kids. But then I started feeling uncomfortable. I answered a video call from my husband (who was travelling) and he stood there and peered over my shoulder. “Ah! That’s the father!” he remarked, standing there all the while while my kids jabbered away. At one point, I looked down at my dog and nearly jumped out of my skin because I saw him at my feet. He was trying to offer my dog a soft drink!!! I was really uncomfortable because he was well and truly in my personal space and he had entered it almost stealthily, without even the slightest whisper. The last thing that creeped me out was the way he spoke to my kids. My kids are friendly to a fault, even with strangers, and it seemed to me that they were rattling off too much information to this ‘uncle’ from the restaurant. I couldn’t get them to stop blabbering so I barked out orders about finishing food and not talking with their mouths full.

Through all of this, I kept telling myself that my overactive imagination was making me see a restaurant manager who was just eager to draw in a new customer as pathologically dangerous. I kept shushing the voice in my head and cursing Netflix for making me aware of stalkers and their wicked ways. Until, I called for the bill. My first instinct was to reach for my credit card, but Joe Goldberg of ‘You’ has taught me that revealing your name on the credit card opens you up to a whole world of cyber prying. And so, I paid by cash. As the change of $20 came back, I wondered whether to leave a tip, but I was determined to not be nicer than I felt and I quickly pocketed the note. And that’s when the charming persona that had been on display the entire evening changed. The manager stiffened, went back to the till and as I got up and said thank you, he cursorily muttered, “Good evening!” without meaning a word! So perhaps he was an overenthusiastic manager after all! Ah well! Netflix, you’re to blame for my stinginess!

PS: Dear reader, do stay on. Why don’t you autoplay onto the next post? 🙂

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