Any Given SaturdayBy:
"There's a time and place for everything, and I believe it’s called 'fan fiction'." — Joss Whedon
I barely have enough time to stop at the ATM. I brake at the machine, realize that not only don’t I have money for lunch; I don’t have my ATM card or my driver’s license. Crap. So, I drive on to the high school realizing once again that I’m a lousy excuse for a mom. I drive fast, suddenly in a panic that the buses I’m supposed to be chaperoning may already have left. Damn fan fiction. I park the car relieved to see the line of yellow buses still parked at the curb.
My son, who’s been practicing with the marching band all morning, approaches me, hungry. Other moms are handing over lovingly prepared lunch bags full of nutritious food. I give the boy what I had grabbed in a frenzied rush from our kitchen: an apple and a breakfast bar. He rolls his eyes, the universal sign that teenagers of the species use to convey contempt and exasperation toward the adults of the species. He takes the food, with a knowing look and walks away.
I’m pretty sure I just lost the mother-of-the-year award.
It occurs to me that the other chaperones look…great: put-together, hair well-coifed, make-up perfect, rice krispy treats in hand, ready to distribute. I’ll bet none of them are obsessed with fan fiction. I’m going to be spending hours sitting on high school football stadium bleachers during a crisp Midwestern October afternoon and I didn’t bring either a jacket or a blanket. What is wrong with me??
I know what’s wrong with me; I’m obsessed. I made the mistake of checking for chapter updates this morning. What was I supposed to do? Ignore a “
Sanctuary” chapter update? And “
Elemental”? You can’t be serious! No obsessed fan could possibly walk away from those two particular chapter updates. Trust me. They had to be read.
We get on our assigned buses and head for this Saturday’s band competition.
I hear some girls farther back on the bus talking about Twilight. I feel a tingling as a shot of adrenaline courses through my body, but I hide it successfully and casually turn my head in their direction. It surprises me how often I overhear comments among teenagers that include the words, “Twilight”, “New Moon”, and “Edward and Bella”. Unfortunately, at this point a boy interrupts loudly and in a high falsetto moans, “Oh Edward!” before he completes his thought in his own voice, saying viciously, “Bite me.” The boys around him all loudly guffaw in disgusted agreement. To defuse the situation I turn to the trombone player and tell him coolly, “Congratulations, you’ve reduced the plots of four books into four words.” He snorts at me and nods his head in agreement.
Immediately all the girls start backpedaling from their previously stated admiration for the stories. “The movie was pretty lousy.” “The books weren’t all that great.” I want to stand up and shout at them, “Don’t let some bully of a boy make you downplay your feelings about something you clearly love! Support your convictions!” But of course I don’t, and the moment dissolves into several one-on-one conversations. I’m left to ponder the ways of teenage boys. Why do they always do that? Do they feel threatened by Edward? And why do girls always crumble into believing their likes are subpar to what the boys like? Why can’t boys let us have our obsession, whether or not they understand it, and leave us alone?
I think about how my daughter and I would never consider that trombone player “an Edward”. Before she left for college, we used to play that game a lot. Of course, “an Edward” to us had more to do with a guy’s old-fashioned good manners, and his intelligence. His looks were a secondary issue. (Sadly, there are so few Calvin Klein underwear models around these days…) I think about how Edward called Bella out for her love of Wuthering Heights. He never maliciously mocked her for it in public. They had a reasonable literary discussion, in the end, agreeing to disagree.
One of the other chaperones interrupts my writing saying, “Don’t tell me you have homework you’re working on too?” Nearly finished now, I quickly put my yellow lined pad of paper away and tell her no, no, it’s just a shopping list. I look out the bus window at all the vibrant fall colors passing by, so I miss her curious glances.
Wasn’t I just a few moments ago internally shouting at the girls on the bus to stand up for their convictions? And now here I am, hiding the fact that I’m writing an article for TLYDF…a Twilight fan fiction website. Boys and girls, can you say…hypocrite? There’s just something about our love of the books and fan fiction that makes us want to protect it, cocoon that feeling, and keep it safe from the damning influences of the outside world.
As long as I’m happy with who I am (including my super secret identity as fanfic obsessed) I don’t really care what people think of me, but I wonder for a moment. What would the others on the bus say if they knew why I looked like I just rolled out of bed; why I was so unprepared for the day? What would they think if they knew what I was sitting here writing?
Some might be impressed; some might think I’m completely insane. And the boys sitting around me? I know for a fact that they would roll their eyes and loudly guffaw in disgust.
There’s clearly not “an Edward” among them.
(Author’s note: I saw that “Oh Edward. Bite me” trombone player the weekend New Moon came out. He saw the movie with his girlfriend and…he liked it. HA!)
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