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Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Oct. 24/10)

Trifecta

No one scene jumped out at me this week.  But three spoke a bit, for different reasons.  The Becky after pregnancy test scenepenultimate scene with Steve and Becky. A close up of Becky looking back at Steve, worried, pensive, scared, maybe all of the above.  She had been in the Rovers’ bathroom earlier, taking a pregnancy test out of the box.  She’s been like a frightened rabbit since.

When she learned Claire had told Steve Becky didn’t want kids, she told Claire off in no uncertain terms.  No ‘bezzy mates’ if you blab.  She had a long talk with her real ‘bezzy mates’ Roy and Hayley, about kids and marriage but didn’t tell them the results of her pregnancy test.  Steve has got very broody all of a sudden and is pressuring her to have a baby, even without knowing she thinks she’s pregnant.  That’s the only part of this story that strikes me as rather contrived, indeed “soapish”.  I could accept Steve getting broody and wanting a baby with Becky and her resisting.  I could also accept her thinking she might be pregnant, not telling him, taking the test and not knowing what to do with the information (assuming it’s positive).  But having the two things happening at the same time, without Steve knowing that Becky is at the stage of taking a pregnancy test?  It says American daytime to me, not Coronation Street.

Family history scene

Kev and BillSecond “almost” scene was earlier in the week – Kevin telling his dad about Sally’s cancer, and their talk about the death of Kevin’s mother from cancer.  I don’t remember Kevin’s mother so don’t know if this was an on-screen story or not.  Still, it was moving to see the two of them talking about their shared loss, and to hear Bill talk about how he coped with losing his wife and caring for two children.  From reading the comments at Corrie Canuck, I see this scene was a big hit with many of them.  As some people there said, it was nice to get some of Bill’s backstory.  Also nice to see Corrie writers using their history and putting present stories in the context of stories and characters from the past.

God-awful Scene

Connor family discussionThird “almost” – for sheer awfulness – was New Year’s Eve and Michelle coming home with her cute little roofer pick-up guy.  She wants to get a few things for a surprise sleepover with him at a ritzy hotel.  What does she find when they come through the door?  Her teenage son and his girlfriend in the middle of their own “sleepover”!

But that wasn’t the awful part.  That came when, after a weird discussion about teenage sex, Michelle gets her stuff together to go to the hotel for her overnighter with Bob the Builder.  I’m not sure that woman should be allowed to raise a goldfish.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Oct. 17/10)

Molly’s Turkey

Molly pulls the Christmas turkey out of the oven. The pan tips and the turkey slides out on the floor. Oh, the poor girl.

Molly pulls turkey out of ovenI haven’t had a lot of sympathy for her in this whole affair with Kevin, but my heart bled for her in this scene and the one leading up to it. That’s where Kevin breaks it off with her. What I liked in the follow-up scene was there was the turkey on its platter in the middle of the table, with Tyrone, Jack and all tucking into it.

Molly did what I’d hoped she did when I saw the turkey laying in the middle of the kitchen floor. She picked it up, wiped it off, put it on a platter and served it – ta da! – telling no one of its little side trip en route to table from oven.

Now, girl, that’s what you have to do with yourself.  Pick yourself up, look your best and carry on!  Easier said than done, when your “great romance” has just told you that you’re childish and selfish and acts as if you were the only one with delusions of leaving partners and going off to a new and wonderful life together.  At the best of times, that is difficult to hear from someone who has said he or she loves you.  But when an hour before, it’s him who has persuaded you that it’s time to up stakes, tell the spouses that you’re leaving them and damn the consequences.  All on Christmas Day?  Even Molly, deluded as she’s been about the ease with which a marriage or two can be ended, seemed not entirely sure that Christmas Day, before the turkey dinner, was the best time to do this.

She really is still just a girl without a lot of experience in adult relationships.  But she’s learning fast, as her look of hurt and stunned disbelief showed when Kevin lectured her about why he could now not leave Sally.  That he had to stand by his wife, now she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Earlier he’d also told Molly that he had to stand by his family until Sophie was through her school exams.  Molly said ok, and then, after finding out about the romantic weekend in Paris Kevin and Sal had, she said ok, enough!  Good for you, Molly!

But Kevin couldn’t leave it at that.  No, he persuades her running away is a good, and romantic, thing to do.  She falls for it – of course she would!  She loves him or at least is infatuated with him or the thrill of an affair.  Then, when he does the right thing and says he’s staying with his wife, he has to belittle Molly.

There’s already a power imbalance between Molly and Kevin.  She’s a lot younger than him, so he can feel good about having a young woman fawning over him.  But he can also turn it the other way around when it suits his purpose; she’s silly and immature, too young to understand these things.  And, being young, those words will hurt her without her realizing what it also says about him and his level of maturity.  Molly has just learned an important lesson about relationships; whatever someone says they like about you can be used against you in bad moments.

Meanwhile, she knows that she came within a hair’s breadth of destroying her life with Tyrone.  It probably is already destroyed. But at least now she won’t be letting it happen because of the promises of a fool’s paradise with Kevin.  Unless, of course, he decides he can’t cope with Sally and her cancer without the support of his “real love” Molly.  Then he’ll put her through the emotional wringer again and again.  If she lets him.  I hope the dropped turkey and her fast coping with that shows her she’s got the emotional strength to deal with her other “dropped turkey” – Kevin.

Panhandling: Community or transaction?

This summer, I was driving and listening to, I think, Tapestry on CBC Radio. A man affiliated with a Cathedral somewhere was talking about panhandlers who sat near the church. His thesis was that they wanted your recognition as people, as members of our community more than they wanted your spare change. They want eye contact and a ‘good morning, how are you’, he said.

He’d filled in for one of the panhandlers one day while the guy had to run an errand. He said Panhandlers sign in californiathe worst thing he felt was the invisibility – that no one saw him while he was sitting on the church steps. By being in the context of  ‘panhandler’, he was not worth noticing. In his usual context of Church official, he would have been acknowledged, even respected. He hadn’t changed his clothes or behaviour, simply put himself in a place where Church officials do not sit, held the equipment of the panhandler and therefore became him. What he especially noticed was the averting of eyes from him.

I was listening and thinking about my response to panhandlers. A couple blocks further on, I got a chance to test myself. A young man was standing on the traffic island by the stoplights. He held a cardboard sign and had a plastic container at his feet. As I got closer in the line of traffic, I saw it read “out of work, need spare change”.  What am I going to do? I was just hoping the light wouldn’t change so I’d have to stop beside him. My luck held and I caught the tail end of the advance turn signal. “Sorry buddy I gotta turn now!” I only said that in my head. Like all the other drivers I could see, I drove right past without making eye contact with him.

Eye-Averter

I am usually an eye-averter. But, I realized, I’m also an eye-averter at craft shows, trade shows and any store that actually still has shop assistants who themselves aren’t eye-averting with customers. I don’t want to enter into any conversation which has a transaction as its principal motive.

If I’m at a craft sale and want to look at hand-crocheted items, it doesn’t mean I want to buy any and I don’t want to feel guilted into buying a doily because the nice lady that made it is telling me all about it. So I slink along, keeping to the middle of the aisle so I’m not easily ‘eye-caught’ by the genial grandmother or the slick-suited window salesman. If they catch your eye, you become obligated to talk to them. And, oh yes, they’ll talk to you at length about anything. But ultimately they are hoping you will buy something.

I have way too much stuff in my house that I bought because I felt it commons.wikimedia.org crowd at London UK marketwas the decent thing to do. Trapped into communication and made part of a tiny exchange community leads to having all kinds of gizmos and handcrafty items that eventually make their way to the ‘community’ of the Goodwill Industries.

The social communication of a market situation is selling something to someone. And panhandling is a market situation. Someone is asking someone else to give them money. They’re selling you the act of making yourself feel good? They’re selling charity, pity, egalitarianism, ‘there but for the grace of God…’? I don’t know. But I decided that my eye-averting is not an act of denying community membership to someone, it’s just an act of not wanting to engage in commerce. When my eye is caught, by a good panhandler or a good salesperson, I usually end up buying, or giving. That’s why I try to keep myself disengaged; I don’t like the value of my humanity being assessed on the scales of trade.