Where's Your Vermont?
There’s been a semi-recurring thing this season on Scandal about how there’s an alternate world where Fitz and Olivia move to Vermont and just get to be normal, happy people, and they have a bunch of kids and Olivia makes jam. I think this is ridiculous for a number of reasons: Can you imagine Olivia Pope actually making jam? She wears exclusively pale neutral colors, and I imagine jam-making to be a colorful and messy process (at least it would be if I attempted it). Then again, she’s Olivia Pope, so her jam making would probably be neat and precise. Also, if Olivia and Fitz actually moved to Vermont, there would be no show. It’s my opinion that literally the only interesting thing about Fitz is that he’s the President; take that away and he’s just a very whiny, sad little man, which doesn’t make for great TV.
So Olivia’s never going to get to make jam, because it would make for terrible television anywhere outside of the Food Network. (That said, I would totally watch if they gave Kerry Washington a cooking show.) However, I get that this isn’t about jam. The jam is just a symbol of things that could be, if Olivia and Fitz gave up their lives as Washington power players and went to just go be normal people. You have to wonder, though, is that even a valid scenario? Are these two people in love, or are they just two people addicted to power and the drama of a doomed love affair who’d get bored if you took away the power suits and the politics?
Here’s the thing: the show’s done a pretty poor job of explaining why Fitz can’t just resign and move to Vermont. It’s quite unclear what, if anything, he’s done to demonstrate why he’s such a great president, and why it’s worth everyone around him sacrificing so much to ensure he remains that. That’s probably why Fitz did in fact build a house in Vermont, because this is a realistic goal for him. I think Olivia, on the other hand, would be bored out of her mind if her life was just cooking and raising kids. She has a job that she loves and that she’s incredibly good at, and while I’m sure there’s a part of her that would happily give it all up to run away with Fitz, I think there’s a bigger part that knows she’d be giving up too much if she did.
We all have our Vermont scenarios, our things we’d do if we could just drop everything and run away. In college, my best friend and I spent a lot of time talking about moving to a tropical island, where we’d live as hermits and possibly give out sage hermit-type advice for money. As an adult, I spent some time trying to convince various boyfriends that we should give up our day jobs and go open a B&B somewhere. At the end of the day, though, I haven’t moved to an island or opened a boutique hotel, and I’m okay with that.
I think it comes down to the difference between dreams and daydreams. There’s the dreams, the big, lofty goals you set for yourself as things you want out of life, and there are the daydreams, the idle ‘wouldn’t it be nice if’ fantasies that provide a mental escape when things get tough. I think it’s important for everyone to figure out which is which. Vermont is a real dream to Fitz, something he took steps to make happen. For Olivia, it’s still mostly a day dream, something she just wants to talk about for a minute or two when her life is going absolutely crazy.
My point here isn’t that I think Fitz is an idiot (though I do think that). My point is that both dreams and daydreams are valid and useful things, though you should perhaps check and see if your significant other/mistress/whoever is on the same page as you about what your particular scenario is. If your “Vermont” is a real dream, the thing you’d truly prefer to the political job your dad kind of forced you into or a job that you don’t find fulfilling or a city you don’t love, then go for it. You go build that incredibly fancy house in a state you’ve never lived in (or whatever your dream actually is). Just know that it’s also totally valid to realize that your scenario is just a mental escape from your complicated and challenging but totally worthwhile life.