I just took the WETA Boston (PBS) Masterpiece "Downton Abbey" Personality Quiz. I thought I might be one of the daughters or one of the servants. Nope. The quiz set me as Robert, Earl of Grantham. The top guy, and the biggest "stick in the mud." What? It says that I am old-fashioned, with honor and duty as my highest values. OK. Yeah, honor and duty and integrity are important to me. It says that though I might have a cork up my *** (well, it didn't really say that), I "can be extremely generous and forgiving" to those who "have earned" my loyalty. OK, I'd like to believe that's true. And, well, I can be a stickler for rules sometimes.
But I decided to take the quiz again, just in case I drew a better character. I answered some of the questions differently, with my second choice of attributes. The result: Lady Sybil Crawley. She's a great character — one of my most favorite on the show. But I don't think I am any more like her than I am her father. On the other hand, if you put me in that upper class family at the end of World War I, I might certainly have been a bit of a rebel and more interested in compassion and social justice than in my family's money and good name.
So which character would I want to be? Anna (a lady's maid and probably is the most likable and respected of the characters) would be my first choice. I'd like to think I'd have her character and her work ethic. I'd like to think I could come from humble beginnings and that with hard work and integrity, I could rise in my profession. My goal would be to become the housekeeper like Mrs. Hughes or (not portrayed as yet in this series) the governess.
For some reason I don't quite understand, I have always felt that I am of the "servant class." Even though I have a master's degree (in journalism), I identify with the roles I played while earning my degrees: maid and housekeeper. I enjoyed those roles, for the most part — I liked making things nice for folks, knowing that when they came home they would be cheered by a more beautiful environment. So, that's why I would choose to be a housekeeper or maid.
On the other hand, I wonder if I would chafe a bit in a role that was not mine by choice so much as by station. I think I would want an outlet for my intelligence and creativity. I'm not just satisfied with doing well at work; thus, among other things, this blog. I might have been a writer. Or if I ventured out in the 1920s like so many women did, I like to imagine that I might have been a private detective and psychologist like Maisie Dobbs, a brilliant character created by Jacqueline Winspear.
The fact that I have the time to actually think and write about this stuff means that I am not truly servant class. Folks these days in those sorts of jobs most likely are not making very good salaries and maybe even have to work two jobs in order to keep their heads above water. Of course, this is a bit of a generalization, but imagine if you work so hard all you want to do when you get home is go to sleep — you'll realize that this sort of introspection and, well, day-dreaming, is actually quite a luxury.
But maybe if I could have been a governess, I might have had the best of both worlds. Or the worst, depending on the children and their parents!
Who would you most like to be like? Least like? I'm sure a lot of folks would put the character of Miss O'Brien at the bottom of their list. She's definitely at mine.
Oh, by the way, here's another PBS personality quiz. This one shows me as being most suited to Isobel Crawley's role: roll up my sleeves and get things done. OK, I can see that. I can also see that while my heart is almost always "in the right place" I might still be a bit of a "bossy pants." And that brings me back to Lord Grantham's character, a stickler for rules and duty. I think I need to go out and have some fun!
Buddy almost asleep in South Boulder Creek. Photo by keagiles.
This is an old photo of my golden retriever, Buddy, relaxing in the cool, clear, calm waters of South Boulder Creek at Bobolink Trail in Boulder, Colorado, USA. After the overwhelming flooding this month (Sept. 2013), I just wanted to post a water photo that feels peaceful and hopeful.