The week after Fall Break is a kind of limbo period in general. You come off an actual break and a short week of classes. You know somewhere in your head that the semester is now halfway over, and so technically, it’s all downhill from here. But that’s still a lot of weeks ahead of you, and a whole month until Thanksgiving. So you know the end is closer than it was, but still not quite close enough.
I’m in limbo because I finished the last book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series. I won’t give anything away, but it was a hard ending. I finished it at night, and it took every bit of willpower I had not to lean over and poke my husband in bed, wake him up and tell him how distressed I was. Distressed at the ending, but more distressed at the prospect of having to wait for the next book to come out. I feel certain things will get better, but, as is often true in life, it might take a while. And in the meantime, what do I read?
As if that wasn’t enough, we also find ourselves in television limbo. Last night my husband and I finished the last episode of the BBC television show, Sherlock. If you have not watched this show, stop reading right now. Stop everything you are doing and go watch….Now, isn’t that better?
I cannot even begin to articulate what is so good about this show. There is, of course, the delight of the “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” approach the show takes towards the original material. The hats Holmes and Watson are famous for wearing show up, but as an accidental attempt by Holmes and Watson to disguise themselves which comes to haunt them as they become more well-known. The last two episodes in Season 2 are called, “The Hounds of Baskerville” and “The Reichenbach Fall,” and this perfectly sums up this show’s approach to the Arthur Conan Doyle stories. They are like the original, but with the most delicious little twist. Not Reichenbach Falls, but the Reichenbach Fall. Get it?
The acting is brilliant. The backdrops of London streets or the English countryside are perfect. The cinematography is gorgeous. The writing is so crisp you’ll be reaching for your remote control just to hear what they said one more time. It is just perfect.
Why can’t Americans make televison like this? Well, we do, but you have to pay extra for it on HBO while our public television station barely survives. Sometimes I look at the British and think living in a dying empire isn’t such a bad thing at all. But then I worry that in a dying empire, the central features of your national character become amplified. For the British, it’s keep calm and carry on. I tremble to think what aspects of our American national character would be amplified in our own dying empire. Perhaps they already are.
Outside here in southern Indiana, there’s a kind of weather limbo, too. I hesitate to even call it an Indian summer, as that used to designate an unusual patch of warm weather in the fall. I’m not sure if this is unusual anymore, but it’s in the 80s today as October slips away. This would probably be lovely had I not just read yet another novel with an environmentally-induced apocalypse.
Even without the fear of apocalypse, it is time for cooler weather. Time for sweaters and scarves and coats and bonfires and chilly walks through the piles of fall leaves. Instead it feels not quite like summer and not quite like fall. Limbo. Again. At least I got a post out of it.