Labor Day weekend=the homecoming of the college freshmen after three long weeks. One twin greets us warmly but casually and goes up to settle in for a nap; the other cries when she walks into her freshly painted bedroom—“Sorry I’m just emotional right now.”
Poor child. Homesickness is real, and it’s hard, especially for a Highly Sensitive Person. (Takes one to known one.)
“You’ll feel so homesick that you’ll want to die, and there’s nothing you can do about it apart from endure it. But you will, and it won’t kill you.” ~ Eilis in Brooklyn
In the end, my HSP second-born likes her room’s new color scheme—ivory walls (four coats, thank you very much) with shiny blue-gray trim, a crisp white matelasse coverlet on her iron bed. And in the busyness of laundry and mashing potatoes for dinner and baking—blessedly once again there are too many cooks in our small kitchen—she forgets her worries that “home will never feel the same.”
Oh, Anne, Green Gables will always be here for you…
That first evening, over cheeses and olives, the four of us are laughing like no time has passed. Maggie, the napper, hands us a blank map of America she has filled out with the states and their capitals. “Surprise!”
This is what she’s learning in honors-level university courses?
“Actually, it’s part of SS,” she says, “Something my roommate and I are doing in our spare time to catch up on all the things we didn’t learn in high school.”
“And SS stands for?” I ask.
It’s true: Maggie mastered AP calculus but wasn’t metaphysically certain, until she took matters into her own hands, whether Chicago was in Illinois or Indiana. Ouch.
“Next we’ll go over the presidents,” she says. “Or maybe world geography.”
Calling All Humans: Check Out this Book
Super cool blogger Steve Austin has been super cool to answer some of my queries about how to become an Internet sensation. (Thanks, Steve, but no luck yet.) Steve is an awesome writer and thinker and has such an inspiring story, messy and full of grace. To coincide with Suicide Prevention Month, Steve, has published his book, From Pastor to a Psych Ward: Recovery from a Suicide Attempt Is Possible. Check it out!
Who’s not binging on this Netflix wonder? Who doesn’t love the eighties references, Winona’s big, crazy eyes, the high-rise jeans and The Clash? A friend called “Stranger Things” addicting but “mindless” entertainment. But, no! We’re thoroughly nerding out on it at our house, going back to the first and second episodes to catch hints and themes. I love me a show where nothing’s wasted: everything said points to something else. For (a small) example:
“The Demogorgon is tired of your silly human bickering!” ~ Lucas in episode 1
(Side note: I can’t believe I like a show with something called a Demogorgon in it.)
My theory: I’m not through all eight episodes yet—it takes time to make a careful study—but so far it seems a vanishing happens directly after discord: Will and Dustin’s bike race (“I’ll kill you!” Dustin shouts when Will gets a head start); Barb’s pleading for Nancy not to disappear upstairs with bad boyfriend Steve; Nancy’s “You’re not who I thought you were” argument with Jonathan in the woods. All this conflict leads me to science teacher Scott Clarke’s description of the Upside Down: “It’s a plane out of phase, a world of monsters. It is right next to you and you don’t even see it.” Unless, maybe, we taste darkness when we fall into silly bickering, isolating ourselves from others.
The show’s out-of-phase planes (in addition to the Vale of Shadows) include but are by no means limited to: child versus adult; cynic versus believer; geek versus bully; earnest science teacher versus unethical experimenters. And there’s the reckless Han Solo style do-gooder (Hopper) versus the Stand by Me-like band of boys’ quest to find their friend, Will, who according to Mike, in Dungeons and Dragons “could have played it safe, but he didn’t. He put himself in danger to help the party.”
ST’s characters’ emotional centers are out of whack like the compasses in episode 5, “The Flea and the Acrobat.” Their own stuff—anxiety, grief, jealousy, wanting to be different (or the same)—gets in the way of them doing what we’re yelling at our screens for them to do: share information and work together. With a plan.
I haven’t yet figured out the series’ Jesus story. If you’re keen, every good story echoes the gospel story—crosses to crowns—and this one has E.T. written all over it (in which misunderstood sacrificial lamb parallels abound). My bets are on Eleven to prove savior. She is a girl of sorrows. And those doe eyes!
I could go on, but I’m starting to sound like my Star Wars fanatic husband. And I’ve insisted all these years that I hate science fiction!
I haven’t slept well lately, thank you Duffer brothers. After shutting off Netflix at 1 a.m. the other night, we were beginning to doze when ST’s monster sounds came—not just in my mind—and I shook the spouse in terror and stared at The Wall. Ah, but I had shut the laptop, not paused or stopped the show, and ST had suddenly started back up in the darkness with the breathing and gurgling and hissing of you-know-what.
Electrical blip or something more nefarious? You decide.