Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Weddings and Fairy Tales

Yay, I have cable again. It would seem that the cable box I got last summer to replace the glitchy one I had was messed up all along. I had to go through so much drama with that one, since when I got it connected all the channels were mixed up and it took a long service call and a technician visit to get it configured. With the one I got yesterday, I asked what I needed to do to configure and activate it, and the guy said I should just need to connect it and plug it in. Lo and behold, that was all it took. The one that finally went out on me seemed to keep resetting itself, and maybe that was what happened when they thought it was set up properly. This one seems to respond more quickly, and it may be my imagination, but I think the picture is better. We'll see if it doesn't keep eating my favorites lists. I may have been falsely accusing Stan the ghost of re-doing all my lists. I must say that while the technical part of the TimeWarner service (the converter boxes, the actual cable service and especially their OnDemand service) is terrible, their people are awesome. I always get great service in the interacting-with-their-staff sense, even if their cable service sucks. Then again, in this area they did inherit an existing network that was pretty awful. It was a small tin-cans-and-strings level service that got bought by AT&T, which then sold all their cable service to Comcast, which then did a big swap-out with TWC, and my account goes all the way back to the Joe's Bait, Tackle and Cable Service days.

But I have full service in time for the royal wedding. Yes, I plan to go to bed early tonight so I can get up freakishly early in the morning to make tea and scones and then put on my tiara and watch the wedding. Although I will watch the wedding, I am sick of the hype. I want to watch the event, but I don't care about all the stuff around it. I don't think this is a fairy tale at all. For one thing, although Cinderella seems to be the story seared on the public consciousness, most of the fairy tales were about commoner men who went through trials in order to marry a princess. There were relatively few stories about common girls marrying princes. I suppose this does come close to the Cinderella pattern, as Cinderella's father was a prosperous merchant. This is just Cinderella without the horrendous abuse and being made to work as a servant in her own home. Without all that, Cinderella and the prince probably would have met at the ball anyway, but without the drama of the glass slipper and the wicked stepsisters. There's not much story to it without the bad stuff, but it's probably far healthier for real life.

I certainly don't want to dwell on the life history of the two people involved, I figure I'll see the dress when she walks down the aisle, so I don't care to speculate. I did cut the recipe for the groom's cake out of the newspaper, but that was more because it involves large amounts of chocolate than because it has anything to do with the royal wedding.

So, if I don't actually care all that much, why will I be getting up at o-dark-thirty to watch? For a lot of little reasons.

1) I'm a history buff, and this sort of falls into the category of potentially historical event. I'm not a royal watcher in the sense of following their daily lives in the tabloids, but I do find the whole family tree stemming from Victoria fascinating, with all the interconnections throughout Europe and the way those connections influenced history.

2) I'm something of a completist. My best friend at the time was a huge royalty fan and insisted that I watch the Charles and Diana wedding and the Andrew and Fergie wedding. Since I'd watched the Charles and Diana wedding, I felt obligated to watch Diana's funeral. And then I watched the Edward and Sophie wedding out of the sense of completion and because I really liked his historical documentaries (did he fall off the face of the earth after having kids, or are they just not showing those on American TV anymore now that A&E has become true crime instead of BBC-lite?). So now I feel like I should keep the pattern going.

3) On my first trip to England, I attended a service at Westminster Abbey, and it's cool to watch important things happening in a place where I've been.

4) The Westminster Abbey choir is fabulous, and there's a chance of hearing British sacred choral music. I just hope they don't "Elton John" the service too much (like with Diana's funeral).

5) All the pageantry is kind of fun -- carriages, soldiers, and all that. I'm a fantasy novelist. How could I resist something that does have a few fairy tale elements, even if I don't consider the relationship itself to be very fairy tale (and I think that's a good thing)? In other words, ooooh, pretty!

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