Last Labor Day I found myself moving from Montana to New York City, filled with a lot of hope and a grab bag of misconceptions about the life in the city, my soon-to-be-wildly-successful freelance career, and maximum rodent size.

Now, exactly a year later, my boyfriend Ben and I are settled in our apartment in Queens. I’ve now seen rats the size of small dogs and roaches the size of what I used to think rats were before I saw the small-dog-sized ones. We’ve both picked up more than a few bylines, although not nearly enough for me to quit my job as an office drone, and we’ve both made a few friends and connections. Still, neither of us have come to understand (or much like) life in the city. Think Beverly Hillbillies with fewer rocking chairs and slightly less spitting.

I suppose Labor Day is a good example of our lifestyle struggle. Both of the first two Labor Days that Ben and I spent together in Montana we went camping with friends on Seeley Lake – canoeing to an island where we drank Coors Light and watched the sun set behind the Mission Mountains. We cooked burgers, played touch football, chased some mule deer, pushed each other in the water, and called it a three-day weekend.

In the city, I’m not sure what to do. My first (and only) Labor Day instinct is to grill meat in the backyard and invite our friends to eat it. But we don’t have a back yard and for reasons we don’t understand most people in New York have a rule about not traveling to Queens. Instead, Ben cooked some steaks inside on the George Foreman and we watched TV while quietly struggling with our depression.

Luckily, the day was not all lost. The steaks were juicy and well-marinated and we discovered a new channel on TV: The Lifetime Movie Network (LMN).

Basically, it’s Lifetime “Original Movies for Women” all day and all night – movies full of kidnappings and hidden addictions, love triangles and betrayals, and more eating disorders and rape fantasies than you can shake a stick at. And, man, do I love all of these things. The titles alone – if you string them together and add some punctuation they all sound like poems I wrote in seventh grade when I desperately wanted to be troubled but wasn’t sure what the particulars or logistics of being troubled were. Here’s one I put together using titles from this week’s LMN TV guide listings:

Shattered Hearts: A Moment of Truth

Lies my mother told me –

Homeless to Harvard?

If someone had known; lies comes before kisses.

Don’t cry now – This child is mine

Dead in a heart beat. Always say goodbye.

She woke up pregnant.

I can tell already that these LMN movies are going to be one of those things for me – one of those things that I’m not sure if I like ironically or if I like like them. I mean, perhaps right now I like them for their absurd plot lines and downright bizarre displays of acting, but maybe in ten years when I’ve had a couple of kids with a man I’ve married for convenience and security reasons, when I wish I had enough discipline to maintain an eating disorder, when I’m bored with even my most intricate and weird rape fantasies, when I truly realize that lies do come before kisses, maybe then I’ll like like them. And maybe I’ll have trouble looking back through the years and grasping onto that moment when I switched over. It might be something to think about.

Either way, even though I don’t know what this blog will be about exactly, I do know that one of its many features will be LMN movie reviews. I’ll kick it off tomorrow with Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life, which is about a mother struggling with her son’s pornography addiction – their lives are shattered by his lies and his lust. It also includes a rape fantasy that almost made a barbeque-free Labor Day weekend worth living.

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