Ella and Leigh Grow Up

I went to Leigh’s this afternoon to hang out before she jetted off across the country to college. She’s lived far away for over a year and a half now, and I have to admit that it feels weird when we spend time together while we’re home. Not a bad weird, mind you, there’s just a stark difference in the people we were before she left and the people we are now.

Today, Leigh and I talked about Kony 2012, the World Bank, and diversity in STEM at her university. I don’t think that any of these subjects would have come up previously, even when we were finishing up high school. Then, conversation would be about the people we knew, performing arts, or school. And earlier while we were in middle school, we would have been running about with dolls or planning our “Knight School” (Perhaps I’ll write about Knight School in a coming post, as the whole idea and its execution was, in retrospect, equally hilarious and ridiculous.). We were so innocent and juvenile in middle school, fiercely holding on to childhood when everyone else was beginning to think about boys, clothes, and makeup. We vowed to wear black on our thirteenth birthdays to protest becoming a teenager and would loudly object if anyone used a swear word or was remotely crass within our earshot.

But over time and especially in the last two years, we’ve grown up. Our voices still sound the same, Leigh’s bedroom still has the same Gone with the Wind poster near the mirror, I still don’t swear, but we’ve lost the childish impulse to yell “llama” or blather on and on about American Girl (Leigh performed regularly in their musicals for close to three years, and I got to use her discount when purchasing stuff for my dolls—a friendship perk which I embraced wholeheartedly.). We’re calmer now, more mature, able to talk about meaningful things, and that makes me happy.

There was always that part of me that worried that as I grew up, I turn into someone younger me would have hated. Maybe I would be too rebellious (though to twelve-year-old me that meant swearing, staying up past midnight, and wearing too much black—and I’ve indulged in the second almost every night for years now) or too serious. Even worse, I might lose interest in all of the things I formerly loved. But none of that happened.

Younger me would admire older Ella and Leigh. They talk just like adults and really understand the implications of current events, but still burst out laughing if they catch each other’s eye when someone has unknowingly referenced some old inside joke or humors memory. We may no longer play with dolls, but we look back on those days fondly, and I don’t think a day will come when we won’t get over excited or obsessive about books. I really look forward to the coming years, as we continue to become real adults, with the security of knowing that the things that matter will never change.

Advertisements

The Hunger Games

On Wednesday at one a.m. Pippa announced that she wanted to see The Hunger Games when it came out at midnight and purchased two tickets.

Unfortunately, I was not the most enthusiastic participant in the excursion, but I went none the less, armed with a book, earplugs, and an expression of distain and superiority that would rival Lady Mary Crawley’s.

I wouldn’t say that I disliked the experience—I ended up running into Leigh and hung out before the movie started—but it wasn’t something I ever would have chosen for myself. I don’t like dystopia. Fantasy to a certain extent is fine. Have fun trying to pry my fingers away from my Harry Potter books or Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but once we get into the fascist-government-controls-everything-we-must-rebel-because-of-love-and-other-good-things type of book, you can almost always find me sneaking out through the back window.

Of course, this is not to insinuate that I look down on dystopian literature as some lesser genre. Dystopia just doesn’t suit my tastes. Some of it is spectacularly written and excellent, but I’m just not a fan of the set-up. It would take a pretty exceptional book to get me past the first few chapters (think Fahrenheit 451).

However, I will do anything to get Pippa reading, so I bit the bullet, and read The Hunger Games. And yes, it was very well paced and Suzanne Collins created interesting characters. Sadly, I couldn’t make myself fall in love with the story. Kids fighting each other to the death is never going to fascinate me. All it makes me want to do is take a class in outdoor survival and shoot guns (I figure both of these skills will also be necessary in case of a zombie invasion, so I should brush up on my campfire starting and marksmanship abilities regardless).

It’s also worth noting that I am not a big fan of movie theatres. They’re always loud, the people on the screen are huge and intimidating, and you’re stuck in your seat for over two hours. I always wear ear-plugs and spend a lot of the experience feeling anxious. Even weirder, I have trouble watching (or reading, for that matter) movies in chronological order. I prefer to get about a third in, then do the last eighth, and then the eighth before that, before returning to where I left off and watching (or reading) the whole thing through. I also have to read or be told a detailed plot description before beginning a tv show or movie. In short, I am not the ideal person to take to the cinema.

However, even though I didn’t care for the story, fell asleep for about half an hour in the middle, and felt rather anxious about not being able to pause or skip forward and backwards, I have to say that the movie was very well done and that I had an okay time. I was impressed with the CGI—the control room for the Games was superb—and Jennifer Lawrence combined the right amount of vulnerability with grit in the role of Katniss. Even better, it stayed very true to the book, and I was absolutely thrilled that Suzanne Collins was both a co-screenwriter and producer. For a adaptation, it was brilliant. I wasn’t bored the way I thought I might be.

Afterwards, Pippa and I walked home through the humidity, and Pippa worried about the safety of being outdoors at close to three a.m. I momentarily sat down in the middle of a normally busy avenue because there weren’t any cars, and I’ve always thought about doing it. And then I crawled in bed and slept for a few hours, dreaming of knife fights.

In other news, I burned my finger with acid yesterday. The skin is all white and rough, and I can’t feel it when I poke it with things. However, just like the time I lost a piece of my scalp, I will not be posting a picture. You’ll just have to believe me that it looks super cool. Well, cool for a chemical burn on an index finger.