When I was in junior high school my girlfriends and I watched soap operas (and you thought I was an intellectual!). As the World Turns was the soap I would regularly watch with my grandmother. And between my friends and I the reigning feud was between Guiding Light and General Hospital, which both came on at the same hour after school on different channels. I was a General Hospital girl myself, and I literally remember the story of Luke and Laura as my own coming of age story. Her first kiss was my first kiss. Luke and his disco (that's right... does anyone else out there remember the disco?) with the colored lights flashing on the dance floor. At school we would swoon over the previous day's episode, and the Guiding Light girls would regularly tell us we were losers.
So here I am 25 years of life later. 15 years of expat living later. A marriage and two children later. I turn on the television one day, and to my total horror, there they all are! The characters from my blossoming teen years, walking around on those soap sets as if they had good sense... middle aged!!! With grown children! With wrinkles around their eyes (well, the men at least... the women look so botoxed and pumped with collagen that they resemble only a vestige of their former glory). There they are five marriages and heart transplants later, trying to keep up with the hot young new stars of the show and their steamy storylines. There they are taking on the roles of the wise mother, the caring nurse, the experienced doctor or alcoholic divorcee.
The real shock in all of this was of course me. I guess that their naked admission of their own middle aged status must mean that I am also in that club. The passage of time so evident that it stings. How dare they slap me in the face like that? Luke and Laura... all grown up and having grandchildren. How gross!