In 2020, predictability went AWOL.
2020’s trademark? Wild unpredictability. Trips canceled, work pivoting to remote (or shutting down), kids homeschooling, mask-wearing, social distancing, and zooming instead of in-person interaction…all upending our idea of normal.
Which is why the Hallmark Channel calls to me every day of this yummy week off from work.
Most of my “vacation” days really aren’t that at all. Taken to accomodate a doctor’s visit with mom (or myself) or to deliver a virtual speaking event, I’ve failed at separating work from everyday life.
And then, all of a sudden – NOVEMBER.
How can it be that 2020 is in the home stretch? It feels like just yesterday the rug was pulled out from under us all (and remains pulled). This Groundhog’s Day of staying put and isolated forced me – finally – to say, “Enough!”
If you’re going to be off, be OFF.
So this week I slept in. Meditated and listened to spa music. Baked the first batches of mom-mom’s raisin bread. And actually activated (for the first time in 2020) my out-of-office e-mail message.
So THIS is what people do on a day off!
“Almost everything will work if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.”– ANNE LAMOTT
While covering my kitchen with a thin layer of flour and practically burning the motor on my Kitchen Aid mixer with the sticky paste of raisin bread dough, Mark suggested I enjoy some holiday shows during the baking festivities.
Sucked in like a dust bunny to a vacuum, I was instantly hypnotized.
After three days of shows, all with either Christmas or Angel in the title, I realized the allure of these formulatic mini-movies.
They are predictable.
And in a year when NOTHING has been predictable, the comfort and joy of knowing what’s going to happen (and that the ending will be happy) warmed my heart.
For the uninformed, here are the five things you can always expect from a Hallmark movie:
- City woman/man consumed by work goes to small town where the Christmas spirit is alive and well.
- Main character falls for man/woman who embodies the Christmas spirit.
- Two or three near kisses are interrupted by snowballs, children*, or elderly characters (who may or may not be Santa and Mrs. Claus).
- A misunderstanding ensues, causing both parties to retreat from love.
- A Christmas miracle brings everyone together at the end for a guaranteed happy ending.
Why the asterisk after children?
In the Roach/Viola household, we’ve uncovered a common subtext in each Hallmark (or Lifetime) Christmas movie.
Mark coined the phrase, rendering me doubled over with giggles.
It’s the “Little Shitter” factor.
Please excuse the salty description, but I have to be true to the moment.
He walked in during my third or fourth consecutive show and said enthusiastically, “Hey! There’s the Little Shitter!”
“Yeah. There’s alway a Little Shitter that shows up.”
What’s a Little Shitter, you ask?
It’s any child under the age of 10 deployed to evoke feelings of tenderness and manipulate the story so you root for the two main characters to finally kiss.
If you’d like to play along, next time you watch, look for the Little Shitter (LS). The winner is the first to shout “There’s the Little Shitter!” And if you’re so inclined, take a sip of hot cocoa (or cider, or mulled wine – three other minor props that unfailingly play a role in these Christmas movies) when you see the LS.
In a year when holiday gatherings lack the festive trappings of days gone by, a little escapism into predictability can warm the cockles of your heart.
And my wish for you – and your own Little Shitters – is that gratitude fills your hearts and spills over into a 2021 that is (hopefully) WAY more fun.
While this post is all about praise for predictability, my recent video was about the inevitability of change:
Let your heart’s delight!