Nine years ago, I was approximately two months away from starting high school. It was not only a big maturity mile marker, but also, it was to be my first experience at a public school after nine previous years of private school. I was afraid. I didn't know what to expect. And one day, home by myself, I happened to find Days of Our Lives on. There were four teenagers, at the prom, and I started watching. I was enthralled with how beautiful they all were, and how their little world, Salem--a fictional Midwestern town, worked. I kept tuning in. I guess I thought maybe I might learn something about high school or being a teenager or something. Probably not the best place to take my social cues from, but I was 14--what can I say?
One of the best things I liked about my new-found afternoon program was that everything always worked out for the best. Good triumphs over evil, eventually--though in Salem it can take a really excruciatingly long time--and the women were beautiful and the men were all knights in shining armor--most of the time--except for the villains. The familiarity with the characters was comforting too. One month, Sami may be your favorite character, and the next, you'll think she's being horrible and decide that Nicole is who you want to root for. Loyalties change constantly as you watch the show, because the characters change and go through periods of extreme personality conflicts, sometimes by choice, sometimes by accident, and sometimes for no apparent reason at all.
I will, only because I feel addressing it is necessary, go over the parts of soaps that turn people off. I've seen evil twins, people who were thought to be dead come back to life, people with amnesia who recover (often through hypnosis), medical miracles, kidnappings, more near incestuous relationships than I can count, and brainwashing, plus an array of other bizarre and wildly fantastical plots play out over the years. And, the plots have gone so far as to turn me off a few times so that I would quit watching for a few weeks or months until something interesting happened again.
But, in spite of these plotlines, I continue to watch. Because I've known these people for so long, I care about what happens to them. I want this person to go to jail and that couple to have their happily ever after. It's not because I still think stuff like this actually happens or because I still think men can be as romantic and perfect as they are in the show--they're not, but they have their moments too.
I've come to realize that one of the main reasons I still watch this ridiculous, unrealistic, and sometimes poorly written show is because I appreciate the stability. Every day, Monday through Friday (unless it's Thanksgiving or Christmas or some horrific news event occurs that NBC has to take over broadcasting that information for), there will be an episode of Days of Our Lives. There are no reruns. And even during Wimbledon or other sporting events. The show doesn't completely disappear. They show that day's episodes late at night, which I'm never able to stay up for, but through the magical world of Hulu, I can still follow them.
There is, and unless--God forbid--it ever gets canceled, always will be, one constant in life: Monday through Friday, an episode of the trials and tribulations of the people of Salem will air. This fact is extremely comforting when everything else around me moves and changes rapidly so much that it's hard to keep up. I defend the need for some stability in life, and if this is the only place I can get it, I'll take it. But I do enjoy watching. Not every character all the time, but it's still entertaining. And, one of the salable points of it: you can always say, well, at least my life isn't that messed up.
Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.