So the power did eventually come back on in the wee hours of the morning. I’m not sure what time exactly because between daylight savings and me frantically pouring through the final chapters of Divergent, I had lost all sense of time and passed out as soon as it was done. The fact that I actually managed to finish an entire novel in a day without internet or power is probably pretty telling? But I’m going to chalk it up to it being a) really good, b) a young adult novel and therefore a pretty easy (BUT STILL GREAT) read, and c) it had been a long time since I’ve sat and been absorbed in a book. People compare it to Hunger Games, cause it’s definitely another dystopian future where a teenage girl protagonist is the key to you know, disturbing the disturbing dystopian “peace”, but outside of that it was different enough that I still really enjoyed it. And I liked Tris better than Katniss although they’re both more stone-cold than your average teenage girl main character. That had me questioning Katniss’s character (not as a good character but moreso as someone relatable), but it didn’t so much with Tris. Both characters acknowledge and question their unfeeling choices and I appreciate that, and certainly don’t need my protags to be touchy-feely. I am though, so it does affect the way I personally relate and see them in the story, as those traits will with any character from any book for me. Either way, I find it interesting if/when people pick apart insensitive (female) protagonists, as they’re so used to being able to relate to the person that when one is kind of a jerk, or cold, or ferocious, or unfeeling, there’s this instinct to recoil from the story as a whole. I know some people who have that problem with the main character in Orange is the New Black. I think it makes going through the journey with them less comfortable, but when you’re talking about dystopia, (or a prison, in OitNB) that’s kind of the idea? So I try to embrace it. And with Divergent, it was easy, I think overall Tris struck a bit better balance for me than Katniss ever did. Though we’ll have to see about the next couple books.
Uh, okay, there are many people who actually study this stuff that can word it all way better than I can, so I’ll leave it at that.
In other news, I Skype my parents tomorrow. Like I begun to say in my first entry of the month, it’s so bizarre being homesick. Not for the place, but for my parents. I’m not used to it. I never understood the people who went home every weekend for months my Freshman year of college. My mom said they used to call those people the “suitcases” back when she was at school out east, and that she, like I did, ended up forming my friendships with the people that stuck around instead, many out-of-staters, but some just people who didn’t feel it necessary to drive home even if it was only a couple hours away rather than a flight cross-country like mine was.
I remember, my first time away from home without my immediate family was a trip to Florida, to my grandparents, but I went with my cousins’ family instead of my own. I was having a great time, Granny and Grandpa had a pool and Florida was still an amazing utopia of beaches, sun, palm trees, and dolphins to me at the time, but I remember one night I had decided that I was Sad. I must have been crying or something, because my aunt sat down next to me and held my hand and was appropriately sympathetic-looking. She asked me if I was homesick. “Do you miss your mom?” Sniffle. Yeaaah. “Do you miss your dad?” Yeeeah. Big frown. “Do you miss your dog?” Yeeah. Because my aunt understood how dogs were equal parts of the family. And finally: “Do you miss your brother?” And that got me to laugh through my tears and I said “No!” Because brothers were annoying, especially little ones, and we were never ever supposed to admit that we loved them because gross, brothers, and he was supposed to do the same because gross, big sisters.
And then I was okay. And I have never remembered being homesick once in my life after that. Not at school patrol camp where we did actual camping things and were outdoorsy and I apparently had a blast even though when my mom came to pick me up I had a raging case of pink eye. I wasn’t when I went to any of my out-of-state music and band camps like the proud nerd that I was. I wasn’t when I went to Mexico with my grandmother and spent my days watching whales and snorkeling and feeling like I was in heaven. I spent a great deal of time at friend’s houses with no problem, and then when I moved to college, calling my parents was usually due to some sort of upset, or I avoided it because I knew that mom would just give me a list of things to do that I had either likely forgotten to do or knew I hadn’t touched yet so I didn’t want to be scolded about.
Now I can’t wait to Skype them tomorrow, just to tell them how Halloween was this week. I lived at home with them for two years after college and thought my dad or I was going to snap and strangle the other, but being at home for the majority of the time since Ross died has been okay. My friends have been amazing at staying in touch via WoW and Skype and IM, but when my parents told our grief counselor that it would be odd getting used to me being gone when I went to work 2 hours away all summer, I was a little baffled, because it wasn’t like we spent all our time together. They were at work for most of the day, I was up late chatting with my friends with a headset on for the evenings. But it was nice. I’m not saying I would want to live with them again, and that road trip still pushed us to want to strangle each other on occasion, but that’s family for me. It’s nice being so much closer to them. Sometimes I feel like I abandoned them, moving so far away only a year after we lost Ross, but they have never once made me feel like I should feel bad for not being someone who gets homesick. They couldn’t wait for Ross or I to go abroad, like they did. They supported my Seattle plans from day 1, even if they also expressed their concerns. Half my dad’s tribute to Ross at the service was about how he was so glad that Ross got to see different countries and experience things that were new and exciting, and I remember that whenever I worry that I should feel worse for leaving them. I know part of my mom’s excitement about it is a show for my sake. She doesn’t realise that I’ve been able to recognise her ‘let’s be excited for the kids (or the customers)’ voice for years now, but I appreciate it, nonetheless. The dedication in Divergent was to Veronica Roth’s mother, saying “To my mother, who gave me the moment when Beatrice realizes how strong her mother is and wonders how she missed it for so long.” I feel like I’ve had a hundred of those revelations since October last year and it really hits you sometimes. Maybe that’s what I miss most lately. Or maybe there’s the part of me that just hated seeing my dad wonder if Ross knew how much he loved him and hoping that he’ll never have to wonder that again.