As I approach my 40th birthday and my fourth anniversary, I recall something a friend told me on graduation day in 1996. At 22, I was utterly out of ideas about how to make my way in the world, and I told her so.
"We'll have it figured out by the time we're 35," she said.
Over the years I clung to that like a talisman. And at the age of 35, I began dating the woman who is now my wife. Good stuff.
New topic: we saw a couple episodes of True Blood recently. It's a soap about extravagant, camp vampires. In the first of the episodes in question (Season 5, episode 3) we learn in flashback how two vampires, Eric and Pam, met; how Pam persuaded Eric to make her a vampire; why she wanted to be a vampire at all; and how they became a couple. It's no spoiler to say that it involves some outlandish behavior, grandiloquent gestures, ultimatums, and lots of blood.
In the next episode we see how Eric and Pam formally sever their relationship. It involves hands on shoulders; sensitive, quiet conversation; and a little tearing up. Talk about a dropoff.
I'm an Eric Rohmer fan, so it's not like I'm averse to restrained, dialogue-driven relationship stories, but I can get hands on shoulders and restrained tears from a hundred lesser shows. The writer or someone misunderstood what we come to this show for.
I suppose you could spin it as a demonstration of how the characters have matured over the years, but anyone who's watched the show this far know the characters have done anything but mature. They're vicious, deadly hotheads. That's why they're fun.
True Blood is produced by the creator of Six Feet Under, a more realistic soap that is special to me, and it had its fair share of hands on shoulders moments, but the show was calibrated that way. For a while I was frustrated that True Blood wasn't Bride of Six Feet Under, but now I've learned to appreciate the depths that can be plumbed within the Pop Kabuki format of this show.