Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Question of Time

Whatever it was that made me sick, it did a good job. I had to stay home from work again today. It is hard to spend my precious days off on such a thing, but it could not be avoided. There was no way I could have worked today or yesterday, unless I had set up my desk in the women's toilets.

I felt pretty bad both days, and unable to do anything of any use. So I decided to take a bit of a holiday, and caught up on the Complete Jane Austen shown on PBS back in the spring. I had previously only seen Northanger Abbey (and Pride and Prejudice, of course, but I don't count that because it wasn't a new version). I have now seen all of the shows except for Emma. I also watched Cranford, which followed the Austen-fest on Masterpiece.

I came away from this with a few observations:

1. My illness, in particular the fever that came with it on Tuesday night, would have been far more distressing in Jane Austen's time and in the time during which Cranford was set. Coming down with a fever was positively terrifying back then (but an excellent plot device). I was annoyed, and even a bit self-pitying, but never terrified by my illness, or Pumpkin's illness that preceded it. Hooray for modern medicine!

2. If your position in life depends entirely on a man (be he your husband, father, kindly uncle, whatever), it is particularly terrifying if that man catches a fever. I am very glad that I live in a time when I can work to support myself and Pumpkin. Don't get me wrong- I'm also very glad to have Hubby's help in doing this right now. However, when I have silly, irrational worries about Hubby's health and safety, they focus on how much I would miss him and other sappy things like that, and not practical things like how I would feed myself and my daughter without him.

3. The dresses women used to have to wear look dreadfully uncomfortable.

All in all, I came away glad that I am living now. And also wondering what things people 200 years from now will look back on and pity us for.


  1. Anonymous8:10 AM

    I have never though of it that way. I just figured people 200 years from now would look back and be jealous of our abundance of relatively clean water, etc.

  2. Very true, My Buddy Mimi. I think we tend to notice progress more than degradation, though. We never look back on Regency England and think "wow, what a lot of clean air and water they had then!"

  3. I'm with you on all three. I often things of the little things, like what would I have done without contacts or glasses? Or the big things like fertility treatments.

    Yeah for modern times!

    And I still have to catch up on the rest of those movies! They are just sitting on my DVR waiting for a sick day...


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