If I had a servant….

W e e k e n d    P o t p o u r r i

Downton Abbey

I started watching Downton Abbey last night. Yes, I succumbed to pressure from my peers at Curves, broke down and bought Season One. This big story takes place primarily in the Edwardian country house of Downton Abbey in the year, 1912. It’s full of characters and plot twists but what I find most interesting is the relationship between the servants and the aristocratic family that resides there.

I started asking myself questions — very normal if you know me. “Lisa, which world would you feel more comfortable in, the servant world; waking at dawn, physically preparing the house for the day, always a step ahead, making everything perfect. OR, the life of the aristocrats; waiting to be served, standing helpless when getting dressed, always relying on someone else to do things that you’re perfectly capable of doing, and having to engage in endless polite, but boring, conversation?” Hmmm….? Which world would I feel more comfortable in?

Remains of the Day - My Favorite Servant movie

 I feel like I’d be much more comfortable behind the scenes, sitting in the kitchen with the other servants, telling jokes and laughing at the families expense. Yeah, that’s me. Serving others wouldn’t bother me as long as I had an outlet for my observations and  had an occasional day off. (And I’m pretty sure I could rock those black and white uniforms, I’m just sayin’.)  When we go out to eat, I’m the person who stacks the dishes neatly for the waitress so that she only has to make one trip, if that tells you anything?

In the most recent version of Titanic, the one with Kate Winslet, they really highlight the disparity of the two worlds.  Again, I’m definitely a below decks sort of gal. I’d rather be singing and dancing with my peeps than be surrounded by stuffy pretentious people, breathing in cigar smoke, unable to move my torso in a corseted gown. I won’t put on airs and I hate unnecessary formality. I hate rules. I’m a total rebel. I’d like to think that if someone prevented me from getting in one of those boats, I’d punch him in the nose. But with my luck, I’d be the woman who fell to her death because she couldn’t hold onto the railing and pull herself up… As an aside, I have no upper body strength.

I shouldn’t romanticize the whole thing and pretend there was choice and freedom, because there wasn’t. The class system is pretty awful when you have no way to change your lot. Say you didn’t look good in the uniform or your natural tendencies  were to be more of a couch potato, then your life could be pretty awful.


(You can sing this to the tune of, “If I Had A Hammer.”)

So what would I have a “servant” do for me if I had one today? Hmmm… Basically all the things that I hate to do; cook, serve my jury duty, go stand in line for me at the Department of Motor Vehicles, set up the cable TV appointment and be at the house when they showed up, get the oil changed and tires rotated on the car, you know, just stuff like that… wait just a minute, that’s why I had children!! Haha! The bottom line is, I’m way too independent and controlling to allow someone else to run my life.

What about you? How would you feel living a life of servitude? Which world would you be more comfortable in? Be honest.