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Meredith Leigh Knight Columnist

Published Friday, February 01, 2013

Quest for coolness

“I feel like I can’t talk to any women because I have not seen ‘Downtown Abbey,’” I complained.

“You haven’t seen what?” my friend said.

“‘Downtown Abbey.’ You know, the show everyone is watching.”

“You mean ‘Downton Abbey,’” he said.

I shook my head disgustedly, thinking it must be the English pronunciation that everyone knows but me. Later, when I looked it up, I learned, no, it’s spelled D-o-w-n-t-o-n Abbey. I had been reading it wrong for several months.

Sigh. Being behind the curve of what’s popular is nothing new to me. I’m reading “The Hunger Games,” if that tells you anything. And beneath my bed, I have a sizzling copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey” that I’ll get to whenever I’m grey at this rate.

I remember when the television show “Seinfield” was a huge hit. As always, I was one of the last to get on the bandwagon. I may have missed it altogether except my husband and I were invited to a Seinfield party.

“What a dumb idea! That show is about nothing. Are we going to sit around and watch a sitcom all evening?” I asked – loudly.

Usually the words I have to eat are the ones I say most often and the loudest, and this was no exception. After watching a few episodes, I was totally hooked and remain so today. Thank God for reruns.

My ignorance applies to movies as well. I have a friend who is on a quest to see all the films nominated for an Academy Award – a feat I really admire and should imitate, so I’ll be able to chime in around the water cooler.

On a recent day, my co-workers were discussing “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” and a few other recently nominated movies.

“My son and I watched ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ over the weekend. It was great!” I said, in a desperate attempt not to be left out.

Suddenly, I was very cool and had everyone’s attention.

“Is there a new ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ out?” they asked.

“Oh, no, the one from the 1970s with Clint Eastwood,” I said.

They were kind enough or either the movie was good enough that they didn’t dismiss me, but I wasn’t so cool anymore.

I got on Twitter a few months ago in an attempt to stay up on current events. That has helped, except it seems that I still miss out on the actual event itself. For example, the Lance Armstrong interview. Instead of watching it, I just read everyone’s reaction to it and got the gist. I went to bed satisfied that I had gotten a pretty good picture of what an arrogant narcissist he was.

Over the weekend, a friend, in an attempt to make conversation, asked, “Did you watch the Lance Armstrong interview?”

“Well, no, but I read everyone’s reaction to it on Twitter,” I said, proudly.

I could tell by his face that I had reached an even lower level of un-coolness.

What’s a girl to do? I suppose I could cram and spend the weekend watching season one and two of “Downton Abby” on Netflix or I could get up early and read about the red room in “Fifty Shades of Grey” (see, I have a vague notion of what that is, so I’m not that unhip) or I could spend my nights in the theater catching up on all the movies I’ve missed the past year.

But, what I think I’ll do instead is the next time someone asks if I’ve seen something, I’ll simply say, “No, please tell me about it,” and actually listen to their answer. I have a feeling that will take me further in life than knowing the difference between “Downtown” and “Downton” – unless I’m asking for directions, that is.

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