Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Jane and the Doctor #1

As I re-watched one of my favorite episodes of the British TV show "Doctor Who," which features a story surrounding Agatha Christie, I was inspired.

Wouldn't an episode featuring Jane Austen be the best thing since sliced bread?

I shared this desire with a Whovian fan club I belong to on Facebook. Then I began imagining what interactions between the Doctor, his companion and various characters in Jane Austen's life might look like.

As easy as these have proven to write, this is undoubtedly only the first of several installments of the sort. The vignettes below are not presented chronologically, by the way. "Ten," of course, denotes the Tenth Doctor, and Donna is his companion in the fourth season of the reboot.

***

Jane's mom: "And is this your wife?"
-both Doctor and companion deny it vigorously-
Mom, as if offering consolation: "Oh, never mind, there are still many wonderful ladies you may meet."
Doctor, as aside to companion, with Jane overhearing: "It's universally acknowledged, you know, that a single man of apparently good fortune must 'be in want of a wife.'"

***

Ten: Oh hello there!
Jane: Good morrow, sir.
Ten: Where're you off to?
Jane: The village apothecary, sir. Are you looking for direction?
Ten: Oh, no, just pottering about, you might say.
Jane: Ah. Well, ah, the moor about half a mile farther on is a beautiful walk.
Ten: It is, isn't it? I might even find a cave there. Far better than any town. 'What are men to rocks and mountains,' eh?
Jane: My, sir, you've expressed my feelings exactly.
Ten: I'm the Doctor, by the way, forgive me for not properly introducing myself earlier.
Jane: A pleasure to meet you, doctor...?
Ten: Just the Doctor, miss.
Jane: Well then, Doctor, I am Miss Austen, or properly Miss Jane, as my sister is slightly elder. I find it rather odd, though, that you do not seek an introduction through a friend.
Ten: Who? One of these trees here? Hello, Tree, why don't you introduce me to the young lady?
Jane, smiling: Sir, you are absurd.
Ten: It comes from reading too many novels.
Jane: I'm afraid, sir, I must beg to differ. Absurd behavior manifests itself generally without the help of fiction.
Ten: Ah, quite true. Anybody who can't take pleasure in a good novel 'must be intolerably stupid,' too. So perhaps I haven't read enough.
Jane, dimple peeking as she tries not to smile again: I'm sure the village apothecary might give you a prescription.

***

[at an officers' ball]
Donna: Well, Galahad, get yourself out there and dance! And you'd better not ask me because I'd tie myself in knots trying to figure these things out.
Jane: You amuse me so, Miss Noble. If you would like I could teach you the cotillion. It's really far less drudgery than you seem to think.
Ten: Ha, I'd love to see that! Donna Noble twirling around, being taught a dance by Jane Austen herself!
Jane: Miss Jane, if you please.
Ten: Well, Miss Jane, I think you might have better things to do. I see a young gentleman heading this way.
Jane: That's Mr. Lefroy, sir. Have you had the pleasure of meeting him?
Donna, staring: No, but wouldn't THAT be a pleasure!
Ten, clearing throat: We haven't, but would you do the honors?
Jane: Assuredly. Mr. Lefroy, this is Miss Noble, and a man who calls himself the Doctor. Doctor, Miss Noble, this is Mr. Lefroy, a neighbor of mine.
-all exchange how-do-you-do's-
Lefroy: What a pleasure, sir. Say, if you don't mind my asking, have you read anything decent lately? It seems many of the locals have been filling their heads with the likes of Udolpho. Few have even known the pleasure of an evening of reading from Fordyce's Sermons.
Ten: Oh?
Lefroy: Yes, if it can be believed. I've often thought that reading, instead of dancing, should be made the order of the day at a party. It would be so much more edifying.
Jane: But not nearly so much like a ball, you must admit.
Lefroy: Would that be so terrible, Miss Jane?
Donna, aside to Ten: I take back what I said. I'd rather kiss a toad than him.

***

Ten: Something's wrong.
Donna: Of course it is. Something's always wrong around you.
Ten: No I mean, something's wrong with Jane Austen. Or at least with her love affair.
Donna: What love affair? Worried that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy aren't going to end up together?
Ten: Don't you know that that Tom Lefroy there was supposed to be the one she fell in love with? Now tell me, did she look like she was in love to you?
Donna: How could she be, with that sapskulled dullard?
Ten: Exactly. Now the question is, why? What has happened to make him so revolting? It's almost like Mr. Collins come to life.
Donna: Who's Mr. Collins?
Ten: -pause- Have you NEVER read "Pride and Prejudice"?
Donna: Oh come on, I can't possibly remember every detail about the books they made you read in sixth form.
Ten: But it's "Pride and Prejudice"!
Donna: So what? It's still a fat old novel. And a bloody boring one at that.
Ten: -shakes head-

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Life on my own #49: Notes on adulting

Disclaimer: I'm not qualified.

To dispense advice on being an adult, you first have to have a decent amount of experience. Four years post-college doesn't reach that level.

But one of my (ubiquitous) younger friends let her Facebook world know the other day, and I quote, "I can't believe....that in five days I'll be 20 years old. Oh my." First, let's applaud her use of Associated Press style in spelling out a single-digit number.

Applause, please. You're missing your cue!

Now that that's out of the way, let's reminisce a little. When I turned 20, I wasn't even with my family. It was the semester I studied abroad, in Costa Rica, and I managed to get through half the day without anyone making a big fuss over me and my little coming-of-age. Then the student coordinator found out.

I'm pretty sure I was presented with a cake and some flowers, but I don't exactly remember. And I apparently neglected to take any photos.

That all seems like it happened eons ago. But at the time, it didn't really dawn on me that I was no longer to be called a teenager. The verbified-noun "adulting" and accompanying millennial angst hadn't even been realized yet.

Fast-forward five years. Through buying my first car. Through college graduation, where I decided to wear the most ostentatious earrings I owned just for the fun of it.

As you can see, they didn't even match the cords I'd earned.

Fast-forward through my first "real" job, my first hunt for an apartment. My first move across state lines, my first date, my first time buying a house.

I'm 25 now. Those things -- life -- all make being 20 years old a rather difficult feeling to remember.

Thing is, none of these things made me an adult. Lots of people have not done any number of the above and it doesn't make them any less over the age of 18. Not moving out of the house wouldn't have meant regression into the teenage years.

What makes you psychologically an adult, if you ask this rather novice one, is twofold: considering, and accepting, the consequences of what you do; and regularly taking care of others' needs even when it's inconvenient.

I wore a rather odd choice of earrings for my college graduation -- the one time I'd appear in umpteen reminiscence-worthy photos for many friends and once-friends. Seems foolish on the surface, but I knew the consequences. And I was fine with them; I "owned my decision," as they say now. Too bad I lost one of the earrings, or I'd still wear them now and again, too.

There are a few things I've done because of the impact they'd have on people. A good impact, is what I've hoped for. Sometimes I don't do things, too, because I don't want to change someone's life for the worse, even a little bit. It's something I'm working on now. Practicing "adulting."

It's too bad "being an adult" has become associated with "being boring." As if putting thought into any decisions, aiming for no regrets, were undesirable.

What they don't know is ... "adulting" is worth it. Worth the energy, worth the weird looks when you don't really want to do something because you don't want the headache in the morning... or sometimes worth the headache when the evening before was a blast.

Worth staying up till 12:30 a.m. to finish laundry so you can get more things done in the morning.

G'night.