Sep 8, 2013

A little bit less lonely

-       Take this, these guys will keep you company!

It was Eastern 2009, I had just started chemo and my friend Majsan borrowed me her Sex and The City box. I had never watched the TV series, not even been curious about it. But here I was, at one of the most difficult and loneliest times in my life, and I sure needed some distraction and entertainment.

I developed a routine. I finished every night of my troubled days with one or two episodes of Sex and the City. I got to know Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. Their characters, their personalities, their dreams and fears. And was surprised that the series wasn’t about sex at all.                

Sex and the City is about four lonely people in a big city. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha don’t have families. There are no parents or siblings. They are four solitaires creating their own family together. But at the end of the day they go home to their own apartments carrying their dreams and fears in take out food boxes, a pair of new shoes or a designers bag. And they fall asleep by themselves if there isn’t a temporary date or a complicated relationship keeping them company.

The four women became my best friends. I was struggling the cancer mainly by myself. Most days I didn’t talk to anyone. The phone didn’t ring and my house was empty. In the evenings I watched TV, what was on. I had no energy for films or books, and I didn’t like going to bed in the evening because I dreaded waking up the next morning, everything the same. 

Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha became my late night comfort. Dragging myself through the days they were my light ahead. My evening friends showing up always when I needed them. And then I could go to sleep feeling a little bit less lonely.

I was also surprised and taken by how the series developed and what the characters had to face. Miranda, who was all focused on her lawyer carrier and no way would have a family suddenly was pregnant and chose to keep the baby. Charlotte, the good-hearted girl who believes in love and would die for a family, can’t have children. And Samantha, the sex goddess whose main asset is her fabulous body, gets breast cancer. And yes, they have each other, but at the core they need to take care of their challenges themselves, alone at night. Like I did.

My friend Majsan was right: they kept me company during a very difficult time. But they also became my friends. Today, my best TV-friends are the surgeons at Grey’s Anatomy. 

Again, I hadn’t followed the series. But a year ago, when I was sitting in my September Seattle penthouse with my back out and the city skyline as an out of this world post card outside my floor-to-roof window, I bumped into the same view at the TV screen next to the window, and started watching. And back in Sweden with the safety alarm on my wrist and home care putting the dinner tray at my lap here on my couch, it turned out the Seattle doctors were on every day right at dinnertime. I was hooked. Such great company.

And again. Grey’s isn’t mainly about doctors at a hospital. It’s about people struggling with their lives. Jobs, careers and most of all, relationships. The hospital is just a setting for their stories. A parallel story. Like sex in S&C. And like Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha they are solitaires. Alone at heart.

We come to this world alone. And we die alone. In between that, if we are lucky, we share our lives with other people. With friends and family. Or, as the women in S&C and the doctors at Seattle Grey’s, we create untraditional families.

And if not, TV-friends are not to be understated. As long as the home electronics works, they won’t abandon or fail you. They will show up and might even wait for you. Perhaps they won’t love you as you love them, but sometimes they will ask you questions that you need to think about. Or give you unexpected advice that might guide you on your journey. And they may make you go to bed a little bit more safe and less lonely.

My friend Majsan knew something I didn’t know that Eastern 2009. And I will always be grateful that she did.