I was ecstatic to learn PBS was going on a Jane Austen bender this year. I have been known to do that myself, once or twice. My first experience with Jane began the summer after graduating college. It was 1988, I was outside of Philadelphia starting my first real job, and it was hotter than hell. I also did not have a TV. One can only listen to so much NPR, even during an election year, so I decided Jane and I should become better acquainted. Over the next few months I read all six novels and the published unfinished bits. If memory serves, I read the last book as slowly as possible. I didn't want it to end.
The screen adaptations I have seen are of mixed quality, I know, but I get sucked in by a good story every time. Some of the ones PBS is airing I haven't seen previously, such as Persuasion which aired last Sunday night. I geared up for it all day, resisting the urge to grab the book. In a rare moment of boldness, though I warned CD earlier in the day that we had a date with Jane, I possessed the remote control at 9pm and changed the channel to PBS. Generally, the remote is out of my reach and I am rarely consulted when it comes to our viewing choices. It is the one little bonus I get when CD travels. But I digress.
So there I was at 9pm, remote in one hand, lovely decaf espresso in the other, sucked in to yet another great story. I was surprised how much of Persuasion came back to me, though I know I have not read it in fifteen years and it's probably the one Austen novel I have read only twice. All was well until 10:15, just as Anne Elliot is running through the streets of Bath. It's is the climax of the story and I found myself getting slightly out of breath right along with Anne. (Upon reflection, the chicken-with-her-head-cut-off method of tying up the loose ends was really quite silly, but I didn't care at the time.) Then it happened. I heard screaming from upstairs. Eleanor was awake and howling, and she was not going to solve this problem on her own.
Off to nurse I went, thinking the whole time about just thawing some milk from the freezer (would have taken too long), or possibly weaning her that very second (oh, the guilt). She finished right on cue at 10:35 and was back to sleep. Persuasion was over and I was pissed. The night did not improve as Eleanor was up every three hours until morning.
On Monday, after poking around on iTunes and the PBS website, and coming up empty, I searched YouTube. Found little bits of video but nothing satisfying. I checked the schedule, only to find that Persuasion would air again at 2am and 4am Tuesday. I thought, "Yeah, that's do-able. I'll no doubt be up at either 3:15 or 5:15 to see "the moment". No problem." But I was exhausted from the night before so I really hoped to sleep through both airings.
The Jane Austen gods were either for me or against me, it's hard to tell which. Eleanor was again up frequently in the night, though not at 3am. No, it was Penguin this time, proving my theory that she is allergic to eggs as well as chicken, waking me up at 5am with diarrhea. After she went outside, and I completed the requisite post-poo cleanup of her furry white backend, it was 5:13am. I took Penguin upstairs to our bedroom and looked at my pillow for just half a second before going back downstairs and turning on the tv. I am still exhausted but it was worth the 15 minutes of sleep I sacrificed.
I have a small issue coming up this Sunday. I won't be at home. We will be on vacation, in the happiest place on earth. Fortunately, they have tv there too. Northanger Abbey is probably my least favorite of the novels but I have never seen a movie adaptation so maybe I will like it better. A larger problem comes in February, when Pride and Prejudice begins. See, I have a bit of a "thing" for Colin Firth. Even perfectly miserable movies are made tolerable by Colin Firth. And when he's in a good one, oh my. Guilty as charged...I'm a complete sap. So in February, the first night of Pride and Prejudice, I'll probably be in New York for my favorite little garden party.
No, we still don't have TiVO.