Flop onto your couch, positioning yourself at the opposite end where it sags. Turn on the TV with one hand while steadying an overstuffed plate of microwaved leftovers with the other. Use a fuzzy yellow pillow as a table. Flip to the Hallmark channel and land on a Christmas movie 15 minutes into its plot. Get up-to-speed on the story, which centers around a big-city woman with shiny hair and shinier teeth who her employer has sent to nowheresville Alaska to buy an inn. Wonder, “Haven’t I seen this movie before?” Keep viewing it anyway.
Learn that the big city heroine has been picked up at the airport by a weathered-looking taxi driver named Mr. Holiday and that Mr. Holiday owns the inn the heroine must acquire. Also, learn Mr. Holiday has a blue-eyed son who is bearded with just the right amount of chisel in his jaw to look like a famous actor, but not quite.
Think to yourself, “This writing sure is something!”
Push pause on the TV while you clear your makeshift table. Realize you might need a drink to soothe your cynical heart. Flop back onto the couch and restart the movie.
Flutter your eyes as the story develops, which includes scenes with steaming mugs of hot cocoa, walks in the snow, and shops filled with high-end Christmas decor. Wonder why everyone in nowheresville Alaska looks like they fell out of a J-Crew catalog.
Feel a surge of dopamine when it’s clear the two central characters will fall in love. Feel another surge of dopamine during a scene when the two laugh over dinner with Mr. Holiday. Deduce that the movie’s central conflict exists in the heroine’s internal struggle between her career versus love and that she will choose love. Feel guilty over enjoying such a straightforward narrative. Feel even guiltier about spending so much time watching such poorly written TV. Ruminate over what else you could be doing with your time. Get sucked back into the story when it’s near its conclusion.
Watch as the big-city heroine confesses her love to the small-town hero during a scene where it’s snowing and it’s Christmas Day. Feel dopamine as the two finally kiss. Close your eyes and notice your body feels light and feathery and that your stresses over work and life have waned. Settle into that feeling, stretching your legs until they sink into the sagging part of the couch. Wonder, “Is it OK to spend an afternoon like this?” Answer that question by ranking the items stacked on your to-do list. Then, resolve never to watch another Hallmark movie again. A moment later, acknowledge you probably will watch another Hallmark movie again, and probably very soon.
Drift off to sleep as the credits roll.
Snore over the credits.
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