No really, you should. I'm the personification of cliché, and I need witnesses. I am in front of my sagging laptop, glaring down my own reflection in the window in front of which it sits. (Note to self: Downgrade desk lamp wattage.) Hair in a geisha knot, last of the day's mascara flecking down my face, just enough to keep the under-eye smudge from being entirely holy-shit-this-is-what-30-does-to-you? Not one but two dirty plates alongside, testament to Triscuit and frozen burrito diet. To the right, freelance project atop often opened but rarely carefully studied camera manual; to the left, dog snoring in my bed, which he has overtaken on the basic principle of "my feet are dirty and therefore mucking up your sheets," an opening gambit to which I have no recourse. (Touché, mutt.)
Yet there's a creepy sort of contentment to it, a warmth I don't generally entertain, born out of radio Christmas carols and gift giving and twinkly lights and, at least in part, to Sex and the City.
But I've been re-watching it for ... let's just say Not The First Time, with a patient friend, and I'm struck by how it's different from the last time I embarked on a marathon viewing, curled up on the sofa with LSis, blithely letting the hours pass in our pajamas, hair in geisha knots, last of two days ago's mascara obliterated—rubbed onto shirt sleeves and into pillowcases—making midday runs to the convenience store for cigarettes because Carrie made it look so effortlessly cool.
Frankly, she still does.
Only now I know better. I know that smoking is effortlessly cool, and that it makes you wake up feeling like you swept the chimney with your tongue. I know that the show's conceit—four women, each supposedly a caricature of what exists inside all of our doubled-up x chromosomes—is heavy-handed, and that cosmopolitans are some sort of cosmic joke, a pinkifying of a perfectly good martini. I know that rent-controlled is a myth and that there is no such thing as "having sex like a man," even for men. I know that shoes and babies will always be uniters.
Because the theme of that show seems to be loneliness—how long we must endure it, how to survive it, and the many many ways in which we must be constantly at the ready should life decide to benevolently divest us of it.
I'm a quarter of the way through season five for the frillionth time, and I still have no idea what makes us less lonely. (Studies show it's not Cheez-its and cherry vodka.)
But I gotta say, with its demanded kindness and forced slow-down and sense that (even should one have chosen a career in a wheezing industry and/or have blindly driven one's car into a guardrail) there is something around the corner, Christmas sure do take the edge off.