Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Dreams infest us. I'm not talking louse nightmares (though I've had those for about three nights running, together with a couple of inappropriate make-out dreams -Alex Ross? I know you're out there- and the good ol' nocturnal hike to Canada). I'm talking dark, slavering, multi-legged American dreams, the kind that hide in your flesh and secret, behind your ears, tenacious little eggs of hope and longing.
I will be president. I will be famous. I will be loved. I will skydive. I will write the next great American novel. I will travel abroad, have kids, make it big in the stock market, make my living as a clown.
All the things we are taught, when we are very small, to hope for, presumably on the theory that hope acts as a kind of crane, lifting you up by the shirttails from poverty, apathy, youth.
The thing is, hope carried for too long metabolizes into something else, something radioactive. Dispose of your hopes improperly, and somewhere down the line you'll get sick. It was hope -inflamed and oozing- I could hear in the voices of the women featured in a new TV show called "The Secret Lives of Soccer Moms."
The show is on TLC. I don't have cable, but I heard an ad for the show on Radio Disney, the only radio station with songs consistently up-tempo enough for me to bounce around to when it's too cold outside to run. (Radio Disney also makes me want to shoot myself, but that's another blog entry.) According to Radio Disney, "The Secret Lives of Soccer Moms" gives women who stayed home with their kids "a chance to live their dreams" (aka, a second whack at the careers and ambitions they abandoned to become homemakers).
This is quintessentially American TV. America is nation of dreamers, a big, fat, lustful nation descended from the kind of folks who would hop on a boat and sail halfway around the world to nowhere. Americans are raving, chronic, terminal optimists. The Danes, in contrast, expect the worst; I don't think it's a coincidence that Denmark is among the happiest nations on earth.
So the show is stupid, right? One mom helps out in a restaurant; another meets with "fashion insiders." Still, "Soccer Moms" tugs at me. I'm reaching the age when I'm having to abandon, inch by inch, my dreams, and let me tell you, it hurts. Given the chance, would I double back, try to pick up that joke I'd missed, that stitch I'd dropped?