It's February and I'm in a rut. I work in a school and it's been a very mild winter here in Maryland so we haven't had any snow days. Everyone is getting cranky. It's the curse of February.
I'm also in a rut at home. No matter how hard I try, I find myself doing the same things over and over again: I come home from work, eat dinner, look at the Internet for a while, then get into bed and watch Netflix until my melatonin kicks in and I fall asleep. Not exactly a productive evening. To top it off, I'm also stuck when it comes to my Netflix viewing. Yes, I've recently branched out a little and watched the entire run of A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Santa Clarita Diet, The OA, and Shadow of Truth...but, the series I always go back to again and again is The Andy Griffith Show. There's nothing wrong with it. I truly, truly love it. I have probably watched the black and white run of that series at least 50 or 60 times straight through. When I get to the first episode of Season 6 and suddenly Opie is riding his bicycle in color, I simply start over again at the first episode. I am a die-hard black and white only fan. The color episodes lack more than just Don Knotts.
I've been trying to break out of this rut. It's not easy, but it feels vitally necessary. I'm starting small: each evening, as soon as I get home, I take a short walk with the dog. My sneakers are waiting for me just inside the door and I put them on, clip on her leash, and we're off. Also, I've been adding a mindful eating practice to my routine at least once a week. That requires me to slow down while I'm eating. Otherwise, the dog and I are in a competition to see who can finish her dinner faster. Some weeks, I challenge myself to stay out of the bed until at least 9:00pm.
But, how do I break away from Andy? He's such a comfort and a joy. No matter how many times I've watched, I still laugh. I still find it fascinating that the streets aren't paved, and Otis just locks himself up, and that even though Barney is a total incompetent, Andy loves him enough to not only keep him around but to continue to build up his confidence each time he falls.
In the middle of Season 3, there is a great episode about a man whose car breaks down just outside of Mayberry on a Sunday. He is in a hurry to return to Charlotte for business and cannot believe that things in town are so backwards: Wally won't come in to the filling station to repair his car (because it is his day off), Gomer is at the filling station but completely unable to repair a car (he can only fill a gas tank), the phone lines are tied up all day by two elderly sisters who spend the afternoon chatting about their many ailments (apparently, the whole town is on a party line?). He wants to get out, but he is met with obstacles at every turn. For a long time, I've loved this episode because it highlights many of the things I love about the show: the quirkiness of the town, the charming old-fashioned nature of Mayberry's culture, and the sleepy joy of Sundays there. Now, though, I also see it another way: I, too, am trapped in Mayberry by the same sweet, sleepiness that traps that Charlotte business man.
Eventually, the man gives in to Mayberry's charms and, even though Goober fixes his car, he decides to spend the night anyway. I've done that many, many times. I often spend the night in Mayberry (because I know every episode by heart, it's easy to fall asleep with it playing). I find that I give in to Mayberry's charms time and time again. I've got to find a way to get out of there, get my car running, and drive away. Until I do, though, I'm just going to settle back and watch one more episode. Maybe the one where Aunt Bee falls for the traveling handyman, Mr. Wheeler. That's a good one.