Monday, February 23, 2009

Channeling My Inner Churchill

What is it about the British? What is it with our ongoing fascination, or at least mine?

Some of my favorite quotes are from dear old Winnie – Never, never, never give up. Or what about, If you are going through hell, keep going. That has helped me through the last three years of sandwich generation purgatory with my elderly parents.

And knowing that Churchill governed his nation through a war while suffering bouts of depression?! No wonder he’s my patron saint. No drama Obama? Nah, how about a cigar and a jigger of Scotch?

Now that we get to not only sound like our parents but relive their lives – aka The Greater Depression – we need a soundtrack and a mantra to get us through. Not that we don’t have our own great photos of bread lines and “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” to fall back on. But it all sounds so much more civilized through the prism of the Queen’s English and a cuppa. Stiff upper lip and all that.

Your courage, your cheerfulness, your resolution will bring us victory – World War II poster – do read the article on the BBC site. Or like my English friend says, “You Americans whine too much.” Oh. I thought I was sharing. You mean I really am neurotic.

Perhaps it’s the gray, rainy weather we’re having in SoCal and that I get to use the blue EU umbrella my daughter gave me and that I schlepped home from Germany on the plane (No room for my restless legs but plenty for an umbrella during the greatest drought in a century) that brings out the English in me.

Or maybe it’s the Beatles album, yes, vinyl album, that the other daughter bought at a swap meet yesterday. “The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl.” I pointed to one of the two tickets on the cover and said, “I went to that concert,” where upon she immediately called her fellow swap meeter and said, minus a hello, “My mom went to that concert.” Who said your children won’t ever think you’re cool? Hah!

Or the tons of English lit I’ve consumed since “Le Morte d’Arthur” by Sir Thomas Malory in 9th grade followed by Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca” and her gothic copycats and reams more historical fiction from Roman Britain all the way through to Bridget Jones. Anyone for a little Emma Thompson?

In any case, I need something to calm my nerves because I’ll never be able to retire, take another vacation, turn on the AC or the heater (yes, we do use a heater in SoCal) or sell the house and move to the walkable city of my dreams, but I will indeed end up eating dog food just before I starve to death while trying to make dresses, à la Scarlet in Gone With the Wind, from the floral café curtains in the kitchen.

I’ll be found hunched over the computer, emailing an editor equally as gray and decrepit as me, begging her to schedule a 15 minute interview with my very unique, very topical client who will be the very kernel of a fantastically useful and informative story that will generate oodles of praise from grateful readers.

I’ve stocked up on tins of tuna fish. Sounds ever so much more manageable than a can of beans.

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