This past weekend I awoke on Saturday morning with a combination of congestion and exhaustion which greatly affected the things I had planned on doing.
Trying to be a woman of my word, I got up and made the Spanish rice and lentil barley stew I had been planning on making for lunches and dinners this week. Both went off without a hitch, after which I baked some breaded chicken cutlets. Having taken advantage of my recent kettle bell purchase, I realized that I needed to modify my dietary choices if I hoped to see long-term results from the weighted ball. While I’m on the subject, that work out is really hard. I mean really hard. As in, when I drop things I’d rather leave them than bend over to get them and feel the loud protests of my tired thigh muscles. But it is a good feeling, one I’ve not had since Thursday due to my sudden weekend illness.
Accepting that I was going to get very little done between my feeling of congestion and my sore muscles, I resigned to the couch and decided to audition three new television shows for my enjoyment, hoping I’d find something worth pursuing in the wake of such shows like Lost being over (I still don’t want to talk about it).
Mad Men proved a disappointment. The 1950s backdrop was interesting, but I found myself unable to root for Don Draper when I realized at the end of the episode that he was unfaithful to his wife. Burn Notice was terribly interesting, but I decided to save it and watch later with my fiancé and pursue a show I could enjoy by myself as the countdown to the end of my single girl days has begun.
Downton Abbey was next on the list. I was immediately encouraged when I saw that it was a BBC innovation. I love the BBC and all things British, having many times wished myself to be British or at least live in England. This is probably due to a deep regret of not studying abroad in Oxford when I was in college (I still don’t want to talk about that either). Downton Abbey is near perfect. The acting is sublime, the characters are complex and real, and the entire presentation is a profound reminder that there is very little new under the sun. Jealousy, selfishness, insecurity, and the beauty of real, honorable love is as real one century ago in Downton Abbey as they are today. If you are in for a show that sheds light upon the common human problems which transcend time and geography, I solidly recommend the classy, perfectly written Downton Abbey. I watched the entire 7-episode in two sittings. If you’re in the mood to escape to another world, I do not recommend Downton Abbey. The world is the same, the struggles are the same, the dilemmas of how to maintain the best advantages of tradition without being trapped by the disadvantages, those are the same too (women who are beginning to plan a wedding think a lot about tradition).
In the end, we read and watch television to know that we are not quite alone. We are comforted to recognize the nuances of our human existence in the faces of those on the screen or within the pages. Literature is participatory, this is a given. I would check out Downtown Abbey. It made a sniffly, congested weekend far more delightful than I anticipated. I now also use words like “delighted” more because of Downton Abbey.