Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Totally Tubular

I have a let's call it a tendency that I've had since childhood. I idolize people on television. I don't mean that I worship them. I just sort of, well, think about what they would do in various situations in my life. And I also have this misguided idea that life is like television and that these characters that we watch are somewhat real, even though logically, I know they're not.

When I was young - about 9 or 10 - it was The Brady Bunch. I watched every episode religiously. I watched every member of the family PLUS Alice. I thought about where they lived, never even pausing to wonder why they had astroturf in their backyard or what Carol Brady did all day if she never drove carpool and had Alice to cook and clean. I watched them make decisions and choices and marveled at their ability to handle every situation perfectly. Sometimes I even tried to act like them, only to be disappointed when there was no laugh track or gentle background music to help make my point. I took what I observed in their life, applied it to my own, and found that I usually came up far short. It took many years of reality checks to see what I actually knew - this is real, they are not.

I thought I had kicked that habit years ago, until recently I got hooked on The Gilmore Girls. If you haven't seen it, it's a sitcom/drama about a mother and daughter - Lorelei and Rory Gilmore who live in Stars Hollow, CT. Lorelei had Rory when she was 16, dropped out of school, shamed her wealthy family, but somehow landed on her feet and now she and Rory are best of friends. The "schtick" in the show is that Lorelei and Rory talk to each other very fast - sometimes without breathing. Everything is witty, funny, packed with pop culture references and never spoken with a "like" or an "um." Suddenly, I want to be Lorelei. I want to chat with my daugher like she does. I've even tried. (Why doesn't Rory roll her eyes and walk away from Lorelei on the show?) I want to work at an Inn in a quaint northeastern town (never really working), stop constantly for coffee at the local diner and just generally be loved by everyone in the town. Oh, and her daughter's greatest goal in life is to go to Harvard. (Be still my heart.) Plus, Lorelei and Rory are both, at most, size 4 and always manage to wear fashionable, attractive clothing. Lorelei never cooks and the two of them are always ordering pizza or chinese while watching a campy movie from the 1950s. They never gain weight and Lorelei never feels guilty that she's not fixing healthy food for her daughter.

All in all, it's a perfect world. Therein lies the problem. The daughter always wants to study. Hello! She's 14 - shouldn't she be watching Gilmore Girls or DeGrassi or some other teen-angst-fest?! The mother works at an inn and yet is almost never at work. I used to work. It wasn't like that. It was rarely as much fun. The daughter always has something clever to say to everyone...even when they're making fun of her. When I was 14, I could barely complete a sentence without feeling so self-conscious that I practically melted to the floor. Oh yeah, that's another thing. Rory actually likes Lorelei. I won't say my daughter hates me, but often I'm not on her BFF list. (Best friends forever!)

But then again, that's why we watch TV. It fixes everything that we screw up or hate in our own lives and pokes a little fun at the same time. Sure, I'd love to be Lorelei, or at least have her body and perhaps her job. But I have great things too. Still, you're never too old to dream.


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