An unfamiliar spirit has invaded my body, making decisions and controlling my evening entertainment options. And no matter how hard I try to fight this feeling, it persists until I give in. Until I pick up the remote control and voila!
There I am, curled up on the couch, under a blanket, watching something I never thought I would enjoy -- a Hallmark holiday movie.
And it hasn't happened just once or twice. No, in the last few days, I've seen almost a dozen movies. At two hours per film, this equates to a day's worth of time, watching the snow fall on small town America while Christmas lights twinkle and lovers finally fall into each other's arms.
For those of you who have not yet crossed over to cheesy side, there are only a few basic plots to these stories. And you know within the first few scenes exactly how the movie is going to end.
The heroine is often a creative type who owns a small shop on Main Street, a bakery perhaps or an antique store. A large conglomerate is coming to takeover and makeover the town. And of course, our heroine falls in love with the guy sent to do the dirty work.
Sometimes she is a workaholic sent to revamp a cozy family business. And ultimately, falls in love with the son of the business owner. Or our heroine falls in love the relative of her fiancé, a guy who gets her unlike the man she is supposed to marry.
And of course, there is always an older, wiser person to help our heroine find her way.
As I watched movie after movie, I realized I needed someone to help me find my way out of this situation.
Fearing I may never be cured, I called up my good friend and best-selling young adult author, Tina Ferraro, who summed it up for me perfectly. I am watching these movies because they make me feel good.
And with all the horrible news in today's world, the murders, robberies, terrorists plots, protests, racial unrest, who doesn't need a little, or actually a lot, of that "feel-good" potion?
After a bit of introspection and a glass of wine, I realized they make me feel happy for a number of reasons.
1. Their predictability is calming. The path leading to the ending embrace is curvy and bumpy and often hilarious, but knowing the two lovers will eventually figure it all out, puts me in a peaceful mood. I only wish I could make such happy predictions for those I love. That I could tell my grandchildren, everything they wish for will eventually be theirs. But even the greatest psychics cannot compete with a Hallmark movie.
2. Throughout our lives, we're told there is no second chance to make a good first impression. Not so in a Hallmark movie. The first meeting always come with adversity. The hero splashes mud all over the heroine's designer jacket, one so totally inappropriate for the mountains. Or the heroine backs her car into the hero and blames the accident on his inadequate driving ability. Whatever the situation, they start off disliking each other. In real life, they might never get that second chance. But not in Hallmark land. A spark is ignited from that first glance. They just don't it yet. In fact, it's that sexual tension which drives the story to it's happy ending. I'd like to think this can happen in real life. That we do give people a second chance.
3. Love is possible and can happen when you least expect it. Oftentimes, the heroine is trying to get to her boyfriend. Due to a string of serendipitous events she finds herself stuck in some remote small town with a handsome stranger. We know, even if she doesn't that the right guy is the one helping her get to the wrong one. We all need to trust our instincts a little more and go with what our heart tells us.
4. There is magic in the moonlight. In the smile of an elf, disguised as a nanny. In the twitch of Santa's nose, as he pretends to be an old, bumbling man. And I am once again a little girl, with no worries. Just a child who believes.
And there you have it.
Realistic? Not very. Corny? Yes, often. Magical? Most definitely. Optimistic? Always.
And that's what I need this year.
I'm sure this malady will pass as we move into 2015. And I'll go back to my regular scheduled programming.
But then again -- Valentine's Day is just around the corner.