Audrey Raines is not the only woman left behind.  Once again, I am looking at many empty months without Jack.  It’s not what you think – Kiefer Sutherland isn’t exactly hot (to me).  My attachment to him is a little more complicated than that. 

It all started last February with the treadmill.  I was so depressed and out of shape that we put it in front of the TV and I went and rented a movie – "War of the Worlds," the new version with that couch-jumper Tom Cruise – and the movie is so out-of-hand pee-your-pants terrifying that I was walking for an hour before I looked at the time.  I quickly ran through any other movie I could think of that was scary, and thought I’d try "24", which I had never watched.  YOW.  I couldn’t quite figure out what was the big deal about the whole "real time" concept of the show until I watched it, but you just have to watch it, if you haven’t, to understand how much it grabs you. 

So now, in our house, a "Jack Bauer" is a unit of exercise, as in "I just did two Jack Bauers, let’s order pizza."  The next thing you know I watched all the way through all four seasons of "24," and moved on to "Alias", and got to the end of five seasons of Syd just last month.  Somehow through some happy accident I’ve been able to harness the powers of addiction to accomplish something good, because I can’t WAIT to get back on the treadmill, elliptical, whatever, so I can get my Jack on.  Somehow I saved all the Jacks and the Sydneys for working out, and didn’t just binge on them like I did on that Naga bar from Vosges Chocolat that I thought I’d just nibble on for a few days  (ridiculous thought).  I did make a few exceptions; I allowed myself some Jacks during delayed plane flights, for example, so I didn’t rip off the flight attendants’ heads when the pilot started spouting airline doubletalk like "we’ll be pushing back in just a little while folks, and then we’ll be wheels up in 510 minutes" which I think means "you will grow old and die on this plane."

It’s hard to figure out what it is about Jack – I can pretty much predict when he’s gonna say DROP THE WEAPON or DAMMIT! or my personal favorite I GIVE YOU MY WORD / YOU’RE GONNA HAVE TO TRUST ME.  Jack talks in all caps most of the time.  The body count is generally astonishing, and after two Jacks in a row or more I start feeling kind of weird and violent (and I liiiiike it, how scary is that).  But it’s so seductive to watch Jack save the world.  I can’t get pregnant, or lose even one pound, I can’t even get the cat to barf on the bare floor instead of the carpet, but Jack can stop the missile sequences, and Chloe can hack into the State Department, and it’s just so damn satisfying.  Throw in the fact that I’m putting in 44 minutes of medium-to-high intensity cardio for every episode, and everybody wins. 

Now Jack’s been dragged off by the Chinese, and Syd is retired, and I’ve probably got until December until Season 6 comes out on DVD, with a lot of elliptical miles between now and then to fill.  I almost know how Audrey feels.