By JAN BROWN
The Wandering Mind

(Warning – soap related acronyms ahead.)

About seven months ago, I wrote about my dismay at the cancellation of two of my soap operas. Not long after that, we fans of “All My Children” (AMC) and “One Life to Live” (OLTL) were led to believe that our soaps would soon be revived on the Internet.

There was much rejoicing, but our joy was short-lived. The deal fell through and the soaps disappeared on schedule. First AMC ended with a bang – the bang of a gunshot. There was a scream, and it was over. Who got shot and by whom? No one knows, not even the whom who done it.

And more recently, OLTL ended too. There were a number of loud bangs during the final week and it appeared that half the soap’s population had been bumped off. By the last day, all but one of the good guys got better and went off to live happily ever after.

But what about me? Can I live happily ever after without two of my soaps? I ate my lunch during one and crocheted during the other. Could I continue to lunch and crochet without that accompaniment?

The answer is yes, I can. Ever since I first got a remote control, I’d been flipping while I ate lunch. I’d been peeking in on Other People’s Soap Operas (OPSOs). At noon, there was “Days of Our Lives (DOOL) and halfway through DOOL, “The Bold and the Beautiful” (B&B) came on another channel.

I’d peeked at both and so I knew who most of the characters were and could follow most of the story lines. That enabled me to jump right into these OPSOs and start making them my own. To be honest, after more than three months they still feel like OPSOs, but they are getting closer to being mine. I have yet to develop strong attachments to any characters, but that’s okay. I really don’t need anymore imaginary friends.

OLTL has only been gone for a few days, but I have made a better adjustment to alternate programming during the 1 p.m. hour. I have switched to The Food Network during that time and am enjoying “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef” and “Ten Dollar Dinners” while I crochet.

I’m not going to be using any of the secrets or making ten dollars dinners, but that is not a problem because I didn’t use anything I learned on OLTL either! And it’s undoubtedly better for me know about making a beet and pear salad than to know how to change the results of a DNA test. And the concept of frugal cooking certainly is more valuable than the concepts of grudge holding and serial weddings.

I still have my two other soaps and my Friday night British soap on PBS. A bunch of actors from the canceled soaps have gotten jobs on my current soaps. A few of the OLTL characters will join the cast of General Hospital (GH) as their OLTL selves. Others will join B&B and “The Young and the Restless” (Y&R) but will not be themselves anymore. I guess if they can get used to being someone else, I can adjust to watching them do it – as long as I don’t have to be someone else too.

There are, of course, many other things I could be doing with my time. But I have to eat lunch and I have to crochet, and soap time is the best time to eat and crochet.

I can’t crochet in the evening because that is cat playtime. Sweetpea can barely wait for me to finish supper because after supper she gets brushed and gets her daily ration of crunchy kitty treats. And then we play. I started this routine when I was packing up the house to move to my apartment. Sweetpea seemed unsettled by the bags and boxes piled everywhere and pieces of furniture disappearing from the house, so I started doing post-supper playtime and it seemed to calm her a bit. We continued this playtime while she got used to her new home and now it’s an ingrained habit.

Buddy plays sometimes too. They got a laser pointer for Christmas and when we play with that, she cries when I stop. After playtime, I talk to my best friend on the phone, and after that, I get Buddy’s harness and leash and take her for her nightly walk in the halls of the apartment building. You can see that there is no time for crochet in the evening, so I need my daytime programming.

If my Brit soap ever gets canceled, I will have plenty of time to adjust. It’s on four times a week in England, but our PBS station only airs two episodes a week here. The soap was on over there for quite awhile before it got here, so we are seeing episodes now that Brits saw in April of 2004. If the Brits cancel, I’ll have over eight years to find something else to do at 11 p.m. on Friday nights.

If our PBS station decides to cancel – well, I have never run amok before, but who’s to say I won’t?

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