Bill freakin' Nye on MSNBC. He was explaining volcanos in a television studio to some blonde lady. I haven't watched him in years, but he still had this ability to make me pay attention and want to learn science. I'm okay with stuff that requires drawing and memorization-- biology and anatomy-- but anything with math (like oh you know, chemistry, which I barely passed) forget it. Bill Nye had a small glass flask and baking soda and went on about Mount St. Helens with such gusto it actually made me wish for a second that I went to school for something in the sciences, so I could be a cool mad scientist like Bill Nye and mix liquids in a television studio. Then I remembered I had a degree in English and there that thought went. [Note: I couldn't find the video of Bill Nye on ANYWHERE, not even MSNBC, so the theme song had to suffice. Sorry.]
Even though I'm definitely a right-brained person, I have a weird nerdy weak spot for the sciences. I just think that learning about how things work-- machines, nature, animal survival, our bodies-- is totally facsinating. Science is the total opposite of what I study and typically enjoy; solid and fact-based, unlike the arts, which are emotional and open-ended. That's one of the reasons I had a hard time with math when I was younger. There was always only one answer, and it's either right or wrong. I learned that the hard way once when I put down two answers when I wasn't sure which was the correct one. My teacher thought I was insane (and yeah, they were both wrong).
Interestingly, my brother and younger cousin both want to be engineers (my other younger cousin, an architect) and they are taking as much math and science as they can. My dad is a merchant engineer and my mom, a nurse. Senior year, I failed Trig and took four art and music classes. Obviously, the recessive genes are alive and well in me. Science rules.
I don't read the paper everyday anymore. I mix up what day of the week it is. Friends call me and I remember to call them back weeks later. Slowly, the life I led in college is fading, my friends harder to reach, my freedom slipping, and I'm afraid along with it will be this yearning I've always had to explore and see more of the world.
The more comfortable I get here, the most used to the way of things, the less likely I am to try and make something great of my life. I know it because it's a fact of life around here. It's a fact that if I stay here I'm going to settle. I don't want to settle. I really don't. I want to see what I'm capable of when I leave what I've always known and actually try to do something different. Am I just kidding myself? Am I able to make a difference? I don't know, but I want to find out.
Yet on the other hand I feel guilty. I feel guilty because my family makes me feel awful for wanting to get away, always has. They think it's all about them. Then there are the people who made a decision to stay here, and I wonder what they think of me, this kid, who wants to leave the life they built here. Who am I to get out of here, when so many stay? I don't want them to think I think badly of them, I really don't. This just isn't my place.
I write this as a reminder for myself, days, weeks, months, years from now to never forget that I want, need, to see more of the world than this corner of it.
I'm really psyched for the release of this book, though I'll probably just leaf through it for a while because I can't afford hardback books (a really depressing fact) and it's unlikely my local libraries will be carrying it. But when I can pay for it, or when it comes out in paperback, whichever is more likely to come first, I'm snatching it.
My history with Judy Blume started in first grade. Yes, it is sad I remember this when I know everyone else has long forgotten it, but my reading teacher would read us excerpts from Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing. Second grade brought The One In The Middle Is The Green Kangaroo and Freckle Juice. Then I dove in. I read more about the crazy Hatcher family. Shelia made me laugh. I only ever got half-way through Blubber because it hit a little too close to home. I loved Stephanie and Rachel's stories and wished she wrote one for Allison. And of course, I had to find out if God was there for Margaret. Some little things about her books annoyed me-- the out-of-date fads and how all the characters say 'yes', never 'yeah' or 'yep' (its true)-- but they didn't get in the way of the real story being told.
In an ironic twist, the only book I was ever banned from reading was Summer Sisters by Ms. Blume. I say this is ironic because JB has faced much censorship in her career, mainly from her children's books, and organized a collection of short stories from censored writers (yeah, I read that too).
Why was Summer Sisters banned? Well, I was 12 when I picked the paperback up from Wal-Mart. My mom was very apprehensive about it. Once we got home, she asked me to go up the street to get milk, and I (stupidly) left the book on the dining room table. When I returned, my mom and dad were sitting at the dining room table and told me that book was 'inappropriate' and took it off me. Later that night, over my grandmother's, I was in their downstairs family room while my parents, aunt, and grandmother played cards. I heard my mother's voice and muted the television.
"Did you ever read Summer Sisters?" she asked my aunt.
"Summer Sisters? No, never heard of it."
"Well, Annie got it up today and it's full of sex. I took it off her."
Downstairs, my face burned with embarressment. One, that she flipped through it, and two that she even said the word sex (hey, I was 12). But since I was 12, that just intrigued me more. Over the next two years, I snuck into her room several times trying to find it, reading it in bits and pieces in fears she would find me. I once took it out of her room, and she did find me reading it, and freaked out. Finally, in high school, I took it out of the library and there was nothing she could do about it at that point. I understand why she had a fit about it now, but I wish she would have talked to me about it instead.
Anyways, one last Judy story. Sometime senior year of high school, I stumbled upon her website, and for whatever reason, I decided to e-mail her about life, trying to find a college, and other messes in my life at the time. And she e-mailed me back, with advice, encouragement, and just well-wishes. Seriously, you have to admit that's cool.
This blog in three letters: Judy Blume is awesome
I tried it on again a few days later and indeed, my fingers, of all places, lost weight. The ring fell off twice. While, yay, skinnier fingers are great, I can't help but wonder why the Weight Loss Gods decided my fingers needed lose a few ounces over every other part of my body. Too bad you can't make weight loss requests.