Quite a surreal evening last night. From the “Tivo’s don’t kill people, people kill people” department: last night I attended a dinner and therefore had to Tivo the Red Sox-Yankees game, which started at 5pm. It was a miracle in and of itself that I got through the dinner and back home without hearing the score of the game, so I was psyched to settle in and watch……and watch……and watch. I set the Tivo to record for 5 hours, which in almost all occasions is more than enough time for a ballgame. Hoo-boy, was I wrong. Naturally, the game went 14 innings and the Tivo popped up a “this program is finished recording” in the top of the 13th inning. Nothing like investing a few hours of your time to watch a classic baseball game and not getting to see the end. I found out the outcome last night on Boston.com a little after midnight. Cripes.

On a more serious note, the dinner we attended last night was the 92nd birthday of Stephanie’s grandmother. She and her husband live in quite a nice retirement home in Concord, MA and we go there from time to time to have dinner. Last night, just as we all sat down to order food, we heard a coughing-choking noise behind us and looking back, discovered that an elderly woman was pointing to her throat and barely breathing. The look of horror in her eyes was something I will never, ever forget and it froze my brain. A few of us yelled “help!” while Stephanie’s mother tried to administer the Heimlich Manuever (sp?) and many of the other (mostly elderly) diners casually cocked their heads up and looked around as if it were just another day, which is absolutely mystifying.

Stephanie ran (literally) into the kitchen and yelled for help. Luckily, the person who runs the kitchen sprinted over and took over from Stephanie’s mother. At this time, I was probably 100 feet away, not sure what to do or how to help, but all I saw was this guy administering the manuever with so much force that he was literally picking her up off the ground and slamming her down. After about a minute, things seemed to calm down and the lady, shaken, sat back down.

I have no idea how we sat back down and were able to eat and enjoy dinner, but somehow we did. The woman behind us continued her dinner (can you believe this?) and also continued her coughing, which, every time I heard it, made me spin around quickly to make sure she was okay. She even apologized a couple of times for “ruining our party.” Can you imagine? She thought it was her fault! More bizarre, though, was when I got back to our table after all the commotion, I noticed there was no food on her table. Later on she casually mentioned that she was drinking water, felt her throat close and that this was the 4th or 5th time its happened to her. After all that she didn’t even need the Heimlich, but how is someone supposed to know? Stephanie really put it best on the ride home when she said “it was like watching a movie,” in reference to the sheer nonchalance of almost all of the diners in the dining room. There was a human being choking (we thought she was going to die, really) and many of them were just looking up from their dinners and peering over in casual interest, not moving a muscle. A horrifying, morbid, but socially fascinating evening.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of my wife, either. Her assertive and quick reaction got people to that woman’s table in a flash. Had she been choking on food, it might have even saved that woman’s life. It might have saved her life anyway. In reality, that she wasn’t choking on food doesn’t matter – when confronted in an instant – and it was an instant, nobody knew what she was choking on, action was necessary and Steph’s reaction was amazing. I have no idea how we were able to eat after that, because the look on that woman’s face is still freaking me out. I’ve never been that close to someone (five feet, probably) who wasn’t sure if they were going to live another five minutes. I don’t recommend it.

In media news, word has it that U2 is teaming up with Apple to deliver a U2 IPod, complete with their upcoming new album and other various tracks. Initially, this may come off as a marketing ploy to plug their new album, but its importance should not be overlooked. It’s another small step towards the eradication (or major shifting) of the functionality of a record label. I suspect in ten years we’ll be telling kids about how record labels “used to be.” I’ve told a couple of close friends that it’s only a matter of time before a huge artist signs exclusively with Apple/ITunes, completely cuts out the physical product part of things and therefore has no need for a traditional label. In fact, I look forward to the day. The record labels have it coming to them after years and years of activity that can only be described as borderline criminal and flat-out gross. I think this U2 news is the first small and welcome step towards that brave new world. I welcome it.

Song now playing: Pete Krebs & The Gossamer Wings – “Dressed to the 9’s”