March 16th, 2010

reading/writing, books

Mostly about The Host

Finished listening to Stephenie Meyers' sf novel The Host today, and couldn't tear myself away from it for the last 10 chapters or so. I wasn't too fond of the book the first two chapters, because it felt so derivative (worm-like aliens invade the brains of humans and take over their bodies), but as it went on it became more about the characters than about the sci-fi-ness, and I'm a sucker for characterization. The last 10 chapters or so were soooo angsty! I was crying and crying and crying. Part of the time, I was listening to the book while I went for a walk, and I was walking down the side streets in south Berkeley, sobbing and sniffling and wiping my cheeks. Luckily, I did not pass many other people. I mean, people tend to look away from someone who is crying, but I still would have felt self-conscious.

One time, about 20 years ago, I worked for about 4 hours as a telemarketer in San Francisco (for the SF Chronicle). I only took the job because I was really desperate and I hadn't been able to find anything else after a few weeks of job hunting (this was in the summer while I was an undergrad, the only time I could really put in some full-time work to save money for school). But half-way through the day, I just couldn't do it anymore, all these people hating me for calling them, me hating to try to sell people things they didn't want ... I just couldn't do it. I told the boss, who looked at me pityingly, and I left, and I sat on a BART train back to the East Bay, just sobbing my heart out because I felt humiliated and I didn't know how I was going to support myself and it was all just so terrible. The old guy sitting in the seat across from me leaned over after a while and patted me on the knee and said, "It's gonna be all right." I couldn't stop crying, and it made me feel like people were staring at me, but I also thought it was really nice of him. He cared enough to say something, you know? I'll bet that guy has no idea that I still remember him fondly, decades later.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by the book. To be honest, I had expected it to suck. Well, I would say I definitely got my money's worth out of it, since I borrowed it from the library.

I cried my way to Ici and then waited in line to get an ice cream cone (milk chocolate and mocha fudge), largely because I've been having a lot of trouble eating today. I figured calories would be good, and if I couldn't make myself eat spinach and cucumber, then I could at least make myself eat ice cream. Plus, crying and ice cream go together like something and something.

In 1979, my mom and I watched a movie on tv called Sooner or Later, about a 13-year-old girl who falls in love with a 17-year-old guy, and at one point in the movie she ends up heartbroken (I think she lied to him about her age and he found out or something), and she sits down and eats a chocolate cake, sobbing, not even bothering to cut it into slices. Whenever I was really in tears (especially if it was about a boy) when I was a teenager, my mom would make me a chocolate cake and we would eat it together. Well, not the whole thing, but some. Chocolate cake as a treatment for heartbreak.

Hmmm. I wonder how I ended up with food issues.

But I guess my crying-and-ice-cream connection probably comes from there, since it's similar. Funny how movies can impact us for the rest of our lives, even cheesy tv movies, if they hit a chord.