Raylan Givens is not a real person

The second to last stop on our worldwide trip was Beijing. After months of planning and executing multiple itineraries through eleven countries, we just couldn’t muster up the energy to “do Beijing” on our own.

Thank God. Because we hired ourselves the best tour guide ever and had an absolute blast in Beijing. Plus, we stayed at the most posh hotel we booked on all of our travels.

Lucky for us, we were upgraded to a suite. Well, I should say we were forced to upgrade to a suite. There was a lot of Mandarin flying around between our tour guide and the hotel staff. I stepped away from the front desk because sometimes when you’re traveling you just resign yourself to the fact that you are in a foreign country and whatever will be, will be. This was definitely one of those times.

After sightseeing in the freezing temps of Beijing that day – a mere 28 degrees fahrenheit – the only thing we wanted to do was take a hot shower and get in the big, comfy bed in our 1-bedroom suite.

At 5:00pm sharp, freshly scrubbed, the kids and I jumped into the bed and turned on the TV. When we flipped through the channels and heard English , we were like, Oh My Gosh They Are Speaking English On A TV In Beijing!

We began watching something that looked like a Saturday Night Live skit. Soon it became clear that no, this was not SNL. But what exactly was it? It appeared to be hillbilly clan wars of Appalachia. With really bad country accents. And it was a real show.

As the drama unfolded onscreen, we too began speaking with really bad hillbilly accents. We watched, raptured. We were prepared to skip dinner to get to the end of this episode.

Curtis was not. He came in from the other room, “Hurry up! We’ll miss happy hour which is our dinner! I’m not going back out there in that freezing weather to find dinner someplace else.”

We begrudgingly climbed out of bed, keeping our newly adapted hillbilly accents in full swing the rest of the night.

But I was haunted by that show called “Justified.” What had happened to that girl, Loretta? Would she find her kin? Did a clan war erupt up in them there mountains?

Fast forward one week. We’ve now breezed through Beijing, toured Tokyo and are sitting on the plane homeward bound. The jet lifts off, the individual TV monitors turn on. We surf the selections.

Jackpot! It’s “Justified!”

I squeeze my face between the seats and look at Zack, one row behind me. I whisper, “Justified!” A big, silly grin spreads across his face.

We get a full-on hillbilly shoot out up on the ridge. We resume our new, favorite accents.

And now we are addicted. Obsessed. We have got to get more Justified.

We land in L.A. We search in vain on our hotel TV’s free-flowing, English-speaking channels for “Justified.” It is not to be found. I secretly wonder if this is a show that is made in America but only distributed in places like China. Because, really, who in America is going to watch this show for reals?

Besides us.

We suffer through days without “Justified” and finally, finally arrive back home for good. First stop: The Seattle Public Library to check out, you guessed it, 3 seasons of Justified.

No so fast there ‘lil lady, that show is checked out. I reserve all 3 seasons, and shockingly discover that I am number 184 on the wait list for Season 1.

Apparently it is a show that Americans watch, for reals.

Weeks go by. I check my reserve status daily. We are getting close. We plan for an all-out “Justified” marathon.

Finally, Season 1 and Season 2 are ready for pick-up. But it’s midweek and there’s no time to watch. I’ve promised Zack we will watch it together, and he has homework and baseball and church and as much as I love those hillbillies, they have to wait.

I seriously contemplate watching Season 1 by myself and then acting all surprised when I watch it again with the rest of the family. But I hold out. Completely. Because I’m pretty sure addiction starts like that, loving something that’s kinda bad for you, and then hiding it.

We stick like glue to the TV through Season 1. We begin Season 2, and this is where it gets weird. First, Curtis dreams about the show. Then I dream about the show. I think we’ve watched too much.

I know I’m overboard when I actually start thinking that the main character, Raylan Givens, is a real person. Like I will see him around town. Like he’ll show up at Zack’s baseball game, because, who knew, he’s an assistant coach for the team.

Clearly, I’m in a bad place.

We are now in limbo in Season 2. With Zack’s schedule and Easter hoopla, we are behind. Curtis and I have broken the family pact, and watched the rest of Season 2 without Zack. He is crushed. I promise him I’ll watch all of Season 2 again, which sounds like I’m being a good mom when I’m just feeding my own addiction.

Curtis is adamant about starting Season 3 NOW. I say, no, we must wait for Zack. Besides, after 10 weeks, I am still number 49 on the waitlist for Season 3, down from 199.

So I wait. Waiting is good, it has helped me re-focus and purge. I’m afraid though, once I hear that crazy rap-hillbilly opening music for the first episode of Season 3, I’m gonna be a gonner y’all.