Over the past two weeks, I’ve watched the first two seasons of Downton Abbey. I’ve paused and rewound and played in slow motion (namely because I had to, A. use the bathroom, because after four kids I tend to do that a lot; B. grab more snacks, because you can’t properly watch a British show without tea and Cheetos; and C. study their accents, because I’m determined to get them right for when I send in my audition tape later this year), and here’s what I’ve concluded:
I was totally born in the wrong century.
Or more accurately, since the show is set in the twelve’s-twenties…I was born in the right one, just a few decades too early. And in the wrong country. And not in a palace. And not with servants to attend to my every whim. And not with private tutors to skill me in proper etiquette, posture, dress, and manners.
Which is just flippin’ unfair.
But yesterday I decided to change all that. Because that’s when I walked into fifth grade and informed the kids that I was speaking in a British accent for the entire day.
**The following paragraph must be read with a mental British accent** And I told them my name was Lady Matayo. And that I simply loved children. And that math was a most horrid subject. And that all papers must be disposed of in the rubbish bin. And that all their attempts at working were perfectly well done. And a bunch of other things I cannot remember. **Reverts back to dumb Arkansas accent**
It lasted for about five minutes before I was greeted with twenty-eight eye rolls. And several laughs. The sarcastic kind. The kind that obliterates your heart into tiny, there-went-my-British-dreams pieces. The kind of laughs that translate to “you’re the weirdest teacher ever. And your accent is terrible.”
It hurt. It really hurt.
The only non-laugher was one kid, a freckle-faced boy who also shared my current love for all things British. Though my enthusiasm dimmed a little when he explained his fascination came from Harry Potter and House of Anubis—which, by the way, is the only half-way decent show The Disney Channel has to offer these days. I mean for the love of all things brainless, could they NOT convince the Wizards of Waverly Place people to stick it out for another year? Or could they NOT bring Miley Cyrus back for a couple seasons of Hannah Montana: The College Years? It worked for Save by the Bell. I watched that show faithfully, if only to copy Tiffany-Amber Thiessen’s rockin’ stirrup-pants/choppy bangs style.
So to the Disney television creative team: A.N.T. Farm is stupid. Jessie—totally not working. Austin & Ally…it’s like yanking out fingernails one at a time. Call me when you have a chance and I’ll help you think of something better.
Anyway, I’m not giving up on my British fantasy. Madonna fakes that accent sometimes. Gwyneth Paltrow totally phonies it up on occasion, and all because she was in one movie years ago and is married to some English singer-guy today. And now she’s gone all country and I’ve even heard her throw in a y’all or two. And Gwyneth, if you can’t use that word the right way, then don’t use it at all.
And then there’s Queen Elizabeth. I’m not even gonna get started on her, but we all know where she really came from. Come on, lady—we can see right through you.
But thankfully, in my own home, my oldest son is with me on the We-Should-Have-Been-Born-In-A-Castle fantasy. He too, likes to fake an Aristocratic accent once in awhile. Except in his case, while I’m trying my hardest to impersonate a graceful Mary Crawley from Downton, he’s happier trying out his rendition of a slightly drunk Russell Brand. Which I wholeheartedly endorse, because that’s the kind of mom I am.
And since Downton is over until September, tonight we’re watching Pride and Prejudice for the twentieth time. Because I love that movie. Because the scenery is absolutely beautiful. Because I need time to mourn the injustice of yet another time-period I wasn’t born into. Because I’m certain I would have been great at all that refined stuff.
But first, I need to fire up the internet. Send a couple of emails. Answer a text. And pop a frozen dinner in the microwave.
Thank God for technology.