Watching tonight’s episode of Downton Abbey, I was reminded of how much it takes for a wedding to actually take place. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil any of the salient plot points. The episode got me thinking about my own wedding day. I remember waking up on the day Lori and I were married and wondering why everything seemed so calm. Almost surreal. I’d stayed the night before in the hotel where we’d spend our wedding night. This added to the unreal quality of the situation. It was a little weird to be alone in a room with a heart-shaped hot tub. Of course, I’d rigorously tested the tub out. You know the drill. Washed my socks in it, made bubbles, pretended to be the captain of a very small, awkwardly designed boat. Getting to the wedding venue was about like driving the hot tub. I really wanted to eat fried chicken. That morning I awoke in a very clear frame of mind. There were two things I wanted for my future. Fried chicken and to pilot the hot tub some more. First, chicken. I got in the car and drove off in the general direction that chicken might be found and purchased. After a nice winding drive along some tree-lined roads, I noticed that the road narrowed. Eventually the pavement ended and I was just bouncing along a dirt road in the forest. The day was one in which you could positively savor the sunny, early fall weather and not pay any attention to pressing responsibilities. Like getting married.
The road ended at a padlocked gate and I was forced to quit bouncing along and turn around. Back then, I drove a vehicle with a sun roof and could climb half-way out of the car and get some perspective on the world. Looking at the world from the top of my Buick, I realized a great truth about my wedding day: poultry might have to wait. Responsibility kicked into my chicken-fried mind and a second truth occurred to me: my socks were still at the bottom of the hot tub. Now, I’d need to get socks and find chicken. Then I thought about my fiance Lori and reality forced me to sit back down in the driver’s seat and point the car back toward town. I really loved her more than anything in the world and still do to this day. I needed to be at our wedding on time. Love may mean never having to say you’re sorry, at least according to the movies. Arriving late for one’s own wedding is something for which a man will apologize forever. Driving in dust cloud (inside the car, because the roof was open), I made my way to the wedding in time for pictures. On the way I’d found a Popeye’s. When they asked me at the drive-through what I wanted, I was giddy. “You’d better give me two thighs. Today’s my wedding day.” I don’t know what that means, either.
This is a note to my friends to let them know that I really haven’t been playing hooky to watch the 3rd season premiere of Downton Abbey. Not entirely, anyway. I’m not avoiding my obligations, or begging off things on our mutual to-do lists that have to be done. To be completely honest, I’ve got the same flu and cold that large swaths of the country is toughing out. So, it stands to reason that tonight, this glorious 32° night of January 6, 2013, I might as well call in sick from life and the bonds of friendship and watch all the drama happening in the House of Crawley. My sickness will pass eventually, but until then just slip life-sustaining food and whatever it is you need me to sign underneath the door. I’ll just watch Downton and get by on my own. Thanks for thinking of me, but please don’t bother calling.
I’m through the first hour of the premiere. If you don’t know anything about the show, I”ll break it down while watching. Titanic. Heir. Bates. Thomas. William. Mrs. O’brian. Matthew. Lady Mary. Mr. Pamook. No Mr. Pamook. Daisy. Mrs Patmore and her cataracts. Anna. Anna and Mr. Bates. Women’s Suffrage. Lady Sybil and Commie chauffeur. Lady Edith and Old Boy. Dowager Countess says something snarky. Lady Cora. Mrs. O’Brian. Lady Cora Missed The bath mat. Lady Cora no bun in the oven. World War I. Matthew takes William off to war. William Loves Daisy. Daisy does a nice thing. William finds comfort. Matthew is wounded. Matthew gets mad. Matthew is miraculously off and running. Downton is happy. Dowager Countess says something snarky. Matthew has gorgeous girlfriend. Poor girlfriend. Sybil has rebel chauffeur drive her around Ireland. Bun in the oven. Matthew says “Mary! Look it’s snowing!” Lady Mary is Happy. Anna is happy/ miserable. Bates is justifiably cranky. Bates’ ex is justifiably not going to be visiting the estate again. Bates remains cranky to this day.
The third season promises to be just as good and toothily dramatic. I’ll conclude my confession of playing sick-hooky by saying please go and watch Downton Abbey. If I don’t see you around on Sunday nights, there will be no need to explain. Downton flu is a well documented phenomenon. Even when not coupled with actual flu and cold, it’s best to stay away.