This time, I have poured myself a tall glass of a very nice (though quite inexpensive [notice the avoidance of the word “cheap”]) wine as a “lubricant to writing.” I say “this time” because many have been the previous times that I have wanted to speak of this matter with you, Dear Reader. But it is just so “unmanly” … this whole subject.
In fact, it has occurred to me, for the very first time, this evening, that it smacks of Nana (God rest her Soul) calling up the stairs to her friend and long-term tenant, “Come on down. Our Programs are starting.” (The programs in question, being the daily, afternoon “Soaps.”) This was in the day of television’s early introduction to our lives, and few had one. So Nana would invite her friend to come down from her apartment to share in the experience of watching actors portray lives and circumstances that Nana would never … and I do mean NEVER! … participate in herself. In fact, would not want anyone to know that she had even the most remote interest in such goings on.
Where I feel that having this chat, with you here, in print, is “unmanly” … Nana would have considered her interest in (and, heaven forbid, enthusiastic involvement in watching) such “common” theatrics as unladylike (never allowed, under ANY circumstance), and perhaps even un-Christian (which could never be countenanced!) But I am brushing away my reservations because I want to share this element of myself with someone whom I have comfortable trust in. And let’s face it, if I can’t trust someone who is willing to wade through my verbal excesses, who can I trust?! [appreciative smile]
You see the thing is all about giving myself over to a portrayal. Yes … a portrayal! Every week I look forward to Saturday night (with repeats on Sunday night) so that I can surrender to the portrayal of romance, intimacy, friendship, conviviality, human exchange, and altogether very unvarnished and real relationships. All of this packaged and presented on PBS under the name of “As Time Goes By.”
Each week’s offering of this glorious presentation leaves me chuckling at human foibles, caring tenderness, blunders, forgiveness, acceptance, change, tradition, and on and on with the list of aspects of people loving, living with, and engaging other people. And I laugh, and very often cry. Tears of understanding, joy, empathy, longing, loss, emptiness, and yearnings without hope. All because the program (oops, there is Nana’s word!) portrays so eloquently and with such delicate honesty, all that I have always longed for … never had … and know will never be.
I would not presume to assign any definitions to Nana’s motivations for her enthusiasm for her programs any more than I would be so arrogant as to think myself qualified to explain the boxes of “romance novels” in the garage of one who is an avowed anti-intimacy devotee. (Something that I noticed [with considerable interest] as I visited that person, some years ago.) But I do “discuss” my passion for this presentation of all that I most fervently long for, with myself, each week.
I have a healthy understanding of the life-choices that I have made, and their natural consequences. I do not bemoan my state. I do, in fact respect the legitimacy of my circumstances, and my prospects. And, with equal respect, I appreciate all of the innate desires, appetites, inclinations, and proclivities that are a natural and legitimate part of who I am.
Thusly, I permit myself the weekly Gift of indulgence in “My Program.” Additionally, I invite you, my patient Friend, to give yourself the genuine treat of delightful enjoyment offered through excellent acting performed by outstanding artists (including, but not limited to Dame Judi Dench) on your PBS station (or on BBC, if available.)
Consider this my call up the ‘stairs’ that separate us, “Come on down. Our Programs are starting.”
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