Okay, I admit it, I tend to obsess at times about television programs. I am crazy about Downton Abbey, I can’t watch enough Blue Bloods and if it has anything to do with Star Trek, I’m right there to watch. I don’t just watch these programs, I devour them; I put myself in the position of the characters, whether it’s in the elegant drawing rooms of an English mansion or on the bridge of a star ship, I can see it all.
This preface brings me to my latest obsession. It is an historical fiction piece called Outlander. It first drew my attention because the premise of the program is the story of a woman from the 1940s who somehow fell through a rock in the Scottish wilderness and found herself 200 years in the past where she: escaped sexual assault multiple times, was tried as a witch, and best of all, took up with a beautiful, 200 year-old Scotsman in a kilt! This program fascinates me and of course, I am binge-watching it, imagining myself with a clan tartan over my shoulder and a bonny Scots laddie to dance the Highland fling with.
I was watching it tonight, happily wiping away a tear as the beautiful highlander and his wife-out-of-time bride (yes, indeed, they married) conquered yet another problem by somehow bridging the 200-year gap between cultures and custom. My husband walked in and I told him, “That’s it, I’m going to Scotland and throw myself against every rock in the Highlands until I manage to get the one that takes me 200 years into the past.”
He didn’t even really react to this statement. He just picked up his evening paper and remarked, “You’d never make it 200 years in the past,” before disappearing behind the day’s news in print.
“Oh, I know there are a number of things I’d need to take with me, so I’d have to carry a bag of goods,” I said, getting up to make a list. “Now let’s see, I would need to take along my coffee maker for certain.”
“They didn’t have coffee and they also don’t have electrical outlets, even European ones,” was the immediate answer. “I think they drank whiskey for breakfast and rounded the day’s activities with a good cup of ale.”
“Well, that would never do,” I said, shaking my head. “I’m not going to put up with a drinking man.”
“Women didn’t get to pick in those days,” was the depressing response. “If the Scotsman wanted to sit around drinking all day and into the night, the lasses at home said naught.”
“I wonder when they finally developed indoor toilets,” I mused, “I simply can’t do without an indoor bathroom. Where would I pee?”
“I think they were still whizzing in the corner of the dining hall 200 years ago,” he said, trying to hide his smile, “you know, to get rid of all of the whiskey.”
“I should take my computer and plenty of paper and pencil,” was my next thought. “Imagine what a great living I could make, writing stories about the future. And my beautiful, 200-year-old Scotsman will think I am so clever.”
“I don’t know,” was the doubtful response, “you’re going to want to check with the antique laddie. He might think you should be in the kitchen, cooking the haggis and minding the bairns.”
“I hate haggis and I’m too old to have babies,” I grimaced.
“Oooh, that might upset your wee bonny laddie,” he said calmly. “He’ll want to be furthering his line, expanding the clan. He won’t want a bride who is too old a lassie.”
“He’s 200, what’s he got to complain about?” I was becoming a little frustrated with my 200 year old dream being squelched by a 70 year old nay-sayer.
“Hey, don’t get mad at me, this is your plan,” he said. “So, when might I be expecting you to drop through this looking glass, my fine, fey Alice? I’ve planning of my own to do, you ken?”
“Well,” I began, staring fondly at the comfortable sneakers and winter clothes that didn’t involve a wind blowing up my skirts, “I’m still giving it a lot of thought. I may need to put this journey off for a wee bit–till I’ve made a better strategy.”
My husband said nothing more. He just smiled a little as I began to realize that my beautiful, 18th century Scotsman may have been outdone by a 21st German with a pretty clever brain!