We just returned from a short business trip to a town that is literally a stone's throw from Canada. (We actually took the exit boldly marked as the "LAST EXIT BEFORE CANADA," which someone should use as an album title.) And while we weren't meeting or socializing with folks, we were in our hotel room watching TV.
Our TV is in the closet. Well, not the closet. Just a closet. I'm not telling you that to be a holier-than-thou snob vilifying all that is television. I'm telling you because the lack of regular TV time has turned Roger and me into binge viewers. Put us in the room with one - typically a hotel room - and we O.D. and stay up too late and watch lots of garbage. We're like the kid who gets denied all sugary cereals by his parents and, when at a sleepover at his friend's house, makes himself sick on Fruity Pebbles.
That may be a true story.
We watched a bit of The Big Game (I'm not supposed to mention it by name or I'll get sued...I'll just refer to it as Beyoncé Bowl XLVII), then a PBS documentary on the abolitionist movement, then some movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and crying, and then, uhm, The Holiday.
Yeah. The Holiday. The RomCom-iest of all RomComs. Pretty actresses! Pretty actors! And Jack Black! (Just kidding, Mr. Black...) You can and should make fun of Roger and me for staying up until one in the morning to catch the totally predictable third act. Ugh.
A summary: Two women - Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz - are struggling with ending romances and the prospect of spending Christmas alone.
Kate is a newspaper editor in London, and lives in a charming cottage in a village outside of the city. She is devastated to learn that her ex-boyfriend, a man she still loves, is engaged to someone else. She realizes that it's time for a change of scenery, and posts her idyllic home on a home swapping website (which sounds like a very dangerous idea).
Cameron is a movie trailer editor in L.A. She's hard-working and successful, living in a modern mansion equipped with every amenity. After breaking up with her boyfriend, she decides to take a rare break from work and get out of L.A. Googling for vacation destinations, she stumbles upon Kate's cottage and they connect, deciding to trade homes for the holiday.
I kind of stopped paying attention at this point. Cameron made a lot of silly faces. In return, Kate squealed and cried. Jude Law stood around, being charming. They threw in some cute kids with British accents, which is like catnip for me. I think there was a heartwarming story about an octogenarian. Jack Black got to do his Jack Black thing by singing and doing silly voices. But he (or the scriptwriter, I guess) totally redeemed himself by mentioning Ennio Morricone's score to The Mission. Which is exceptional. In fact, this movie would have been way better if they'd just stopped the plot at that point and turned it into an Ennio Morricone listening party. I spent most of sophomore year in high school listening to track seven on repeat. I digress, as usual.
So what did I find interesting about The Holiday? The idea that one person's dream getaway might mean a snow-covered, rustic cottage in the middle of pastures, while the next person's dream would involve a sun-drenched, open-concept mansion dripping in luxury.
Talk to your friends about this and you might be surprised at what people reveal as their dream home. Some want mountaintop isolation. Others want a high-rise apartment on Central Park. Some imagine themselves in spacious homes. Others dream of cozy - even tiny - houses.
We've had endless questions from friends and acquaintances about our move to Sharon Springs. Why did we want to move to a small village? How could we want to live in a place that gets snow? Won't we be miserable in a drafty old house? How can we survive without ready access to a Starbucks?
My take is that our dream house - for now, at least - is this little Italianate Victorian with questionable insulation and even more questionable wiring. If it isn't your dream, we totally understand. If it is, there's a house for sale up the block.