...you get the cravings. You know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, there is still hope for you
... you're listening to Eva Cassidy's "Fields of Gold", and think you heard, "you'll remember me when the West Wing moves"
... you know exactly how long it’s been since you last watched an episode
... you are proud of yourself when you get through the day without watching an episode, so you reward yourself with some fan fic, a fan video, or some discussion on Facebook or twitter and end up spending longer on this than an episode would have taken
... except, of course, that an episode always takes an hour at the absolute minimum because you have to rewatch every Josh and Donna scene, pause to scribble down particularly good one-liners, and occasionally tweet to let the emotion out. And then if the inspiration strikes for writing some fan fic, well, what can you do...
... there being a B in the president's name, it sometimes happens that you are listening to Radio Four and think they are talking about President Bartlet. In your defence, this is usually while cooking or clattering about - so lots of background noise.
... you visit New York City and half expect to bump into Janel Moloney and become best friends with her. In fact, you do a double taken every time you see anyone blonde. You’re sure you saw her husband, too.
... you are more excited, in fact, that “wow, she has, like, actually been in this coffee shop” than about Macy’s or the Statue of Liberty or the tall buildings or anything, you know, normal.
... you visit Washington DC (of course), wander around in a happy daze, but are actually a little surprised and disappointed not to bump into Josh, Donna, Sam or CJ
... every time the Capitol building comes into view, you hear Josh in your head: “you want a piece of me? Come on! I’m right here” and you want to hug him. More than usual, that is.
... you get very cross when anyone misspells Janel Moloney’s name (it’s with an O people, where have you been all this time?!) even though there was a time when you thought not spelling it Maloney was just plain awkward for the sake of it.
.... in fact one of your characters in a future book is going to have that surname, just so her quirk can be “and it’s Moloney with a O.”
... speaking of future books, they all have politics in, and you have to figure out how to get the heroes not to all look like Brad and the heroines to not all look like Janel. Or you could just cast them in all the films. Yeah, come to think of it, that’s a much better solution.
... you weren’t going to bother with a pen name, but you like “Lyman”, so why not?
... you are in denial about the fact that Brad Whitford is, in fact, old enough to be your father. After all, your father is old enough to be his, just about, so it’s all okay, right?!
... you look up the name “Donnatella” on a website for baby names because you’re sure it should only be spelled with one N. And as it turns out, you’re right. But I guess the whole “It’s Dona, with 1 N” thing would have worn thin after a series or two.
... you inexplicably find yourself buying a lot of argyle, feeling like someone stylish and cool would wear this stuff, then realise while watching series 5 and 6 that Donna Moss in fact wears quite a lot of it.
... you have developed a habit of tilting your head when listening intently, and never knew where it came from till you just spotted Josh doing it
... you see a book that makes you laugh and think “I should buy that for Josh for Christmas, he’d like it”
... you are still boycotting everything with Rob Lowe in it, because you haven't forgiven him for his treacherous departure which was such a loss to the show, despite giving us more Josh, which is a (obviously) no bad thing
... you find yourself explaining the American political system to your bewildered students, who really couldn’t care less and whose level of English is not quite up to differentiating between Congress and Senate.
... you give a gold star to one of your students for knowing who Martin Sheen is and for picking Josh Lyman out of a picture of the cast. Well, it’s good to encourage their comprehension of authentic Anglophone culture.
... your students, in fact, know to say “it’s amazing” whenever you ask “what can anyone tell me about the West Wing?”
... you pester your editor to let you write about the West Wing, then you use your own article in a lesson.
... “dimple” is a word that you feel you need to include when you are teaching your students to describe people
... you get your students, who have explicitly told you they want to learn about British English (which you used to think was laudable) to try and name all the States, and are a little proud of them for knowing Wisconsin, and even more proud of yourself for resisting the temptation to tell them that Donna Moss and Brad Whitford both come from there
... you find yourself thinking in an American accent and adopting American vocab, and, shock horror, even grammar.
... the day inevitably comes when your spell-check (which in days gone by, you had, of course, set to British English) has to correct you when, for the first time, you write “color”, and it’s not on purpose.
... your list of must-haves for future partners has grown from just “single, male and passionate for God” to all those things plus American, Harvard-educated (okay, Yale or Princeton at a push), incredibly articulate, and of course Democrat-voting, though to be honest the chances of you falling for a Republican were always pretty (sorry, quite) remote. (Although, if it can happen to Donna... ) The furrowed brow and receding hairline you could probably live without, and you’ll (reluctantly) trade the dimple in for a passion for the West Wing. Otherwise, what will you do in the evenings? And what will you talk about?!
... You start planning to help out in the next Obama campaign, and wondering if that is, in fact, where this amazing yet slightly vulnerable man in need of an assistant and the love of a good woman is hiding.
... You spend longer communicating with people you have met via discussion groups on Facebook than you do with friends you have known for years. Oops.
... you’re watching a film, and you want to shout, “but where’s the politics in this?”
... and then you want to shout, “but where is Bradley Whitford? Who am I meant to be in love with here?"
... You have regular West Wing related dreams, your favourite one to date being the one where you are explaining to Matt Perry why it’s better than Friends. This in front of your heroes, Brad Whitford and Janel Moloney. Stupid alarm clock!
... People have to ask you to stop putting things like “wishes Josh would hurry up and kiss Donna” in your Facebook status updates, because you are ruining the plot for them
... you feel guilty writing a list like this and not yet mentioning Allison Janney, whom you love, and who was your favourite for a long time until your Josh and Donna addiction fully took over
.... you are determined to make it back to NYC next time Allison Janney is in a musical, or any of the cast are in anything at all in fact
... in fact, you need to set up a Google Alert for that, to go with the ones you already have on “the West Wing”, “Bradley Whitford”, “Janel Moloney”
... You are dedicating your next novel to Brad and Janel, and mentioning Aaron Sorkin in the acknowledgements for inspiring you to write
... You are in on a Friday night writing this list... but it’s okay, you’re going out to meet a friend soon, and she hasn’t even heard of the West Wing. You'll soon fix that...