If you were on Twitter or Facebook this weekend, and you follow my updates, you know how important the Oscars are to me. The watching of the Academy Awards is a ritual since childhood, when I watched the glamorous show with my grandmother and mother. Who would think, that one day, I would be in LOS ANGELES on the night of the big event!
The night began with much anticipation, as I stood on the red carpet (or as it is usually called, the red bathmat in the bathroom).
The Oscars are an evening of surprises. There are always unexpected wins, and the audience never knows when a streaker will run past David Niven. This year was no different. A few hours before the telecast, Sophia told me that she invited her friend Leon over to watch the show with us. I had no problem with that. Leon is an interesting guy, an eccentric Russian who composes music, takes microphotos of insects, and can repair any electrical or computer device ever created.
Leon loves to work on projects. And his main interest in coming over was not to see Meryl Streep’s dress. No, he was coming over because Sophia told him that our old monstrous Panasonic projector TV hasn’t worked in three months. As a replacement, we use a smaller TV that we had swiped from the kitchen.
“I can fix the Panasonic for you!” he told Sophia.
I was not happy to hear that Leon was coming over to fix our TV on Oscar night.
Sophia looked hurt when I told her this. She explained that she specifically asked him over for ME tonight before the show, knowing how much I loved watching the Oscars.
“You don’t want to see all those fake actress breasts on a tiny teeny kitchen TV. You want to see them BIGGER than life!”
Sophia had a point about the breasts. And Leon WAS a genius. Surely, if he came early enough, he could get the old Panasonic bigscreen ready for the big night!
Leon arrived carrying three Trader Joe’s shopping bags filled with electic meters, wires, soldering tools, and diagrams of the specs that he downloaded from the internet. He spread out his weaponry, approaching his job as if he had just read “The Art of War,” and he chose himself as the general.
He barked out his orders.
“The clock is ticking. Here’s what I need you to do. The back of the TV needs to be vacuumed so I don’t breathe in the dust. I need all the cables undone. And I want to drink a root beer with real sugar.”
I dusted and vacuumed the entire entertainment center and disconnected the five thousand cable octopus that connected the TV to the cable box, DVD player, and Wii. Sophia went to the store and bought Leon some root beer and ordered Thai food for later.
Leon went to work. He removed the motherboard from the TV.
“I need lights. Many lights” he shouted in Russian.
Leon sat at the kitchen table with the motherboard. Sophia and I surrounded him with every standing lamp in the house.
He worked. He worked. He soldered. Sophia took photos as he unhooked each component so he could later remember how to put it all back together.
I went on Twitter and learned that the Oscars had already started. I found out who won as Best Supporting Actress.
“Damn. I know who won for Best Supporting Actress!” I said.
“Don’t tell us,” said Sophia. “Leon will be done soon, and we can all watch it together on the DVR. On the big screen! Big actress tits!”
“Excellent,” said Leon. I wasn’t sure if he was talking about the prospect of seeing the cleavage or he was making some headway with the motherboard.
I went on Facebook and saw Jenn Mattern mention that Cirque du Soleil was great on the show. I placed the phone in my pocket to avoid reading anymore about the Academy Awards. I imagined everyone in the world watching it, except for me, the show’s #1 fan.
Meanwhile, Leon hit a bump in the road. He sat there, looking at the electronic city on the motherboard, dumbfounded.
“I need to eat!” he said, pushing himself from the table.
We ate our Thai food. Leon drank his root beer, and told us some jokes in Russian.
“Are you sure you can fix this TV?” I asked him.
He glared at me, sensing my doubt.
A few moments later, I took Sophia into the garage, wanting a second alone with her.
“Can’t we just watch the show on the small TV.” I pleaded.
“And hurt Leon’s feelings? He’s very sensitive. He once didn’t speak to his brother for six years for saying one of his musical compositions sounded like a monster truck rally. Don’t worry. He’ll be done soon.”
I washed the dishes. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Watching Leon fiddle with the motherboard was dulling my senses. I fell asleep on the couch. I was awoken by a buzz from the iPhone sitting in my pocket. It was a pushed message from the New York Times telling me what just won as Best Picture.
“Sophia, I know who won…”
“Don’t tell me!”
Leon was still working on the motherboard, the bright light from the lamp pouring over his shoulder. He was drinking a root beer.
I went back to sleep. The next morning, tools and computer parts littered the living room floor. Leon was not there.
“He’s coming back this afternoon to finish up,” said Sophia.
I know who won Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture. I know Cirque du Soleil did something interesting. But don’t tell me anything else until I watch the show tonight. Or when Leon finishes with the TV.