Miles run today: 4.5
Words written in my novel so far: 29,134
Live rats found under a lounge chair at the neighborhood pool: 1
Copperheads pulled out of pool the same day: 2
Thank goodness I’m not Gatsby, and I don’t have a Daisy. The yearning and pining and years of build-up are very draining, and I’ve got toilets to clean, darnit.
Our book club read The Great Gatsby this past month. For most of us, it was the second time, the first being in high school: the time of Romeo and Juliet and the Red Badge of Courage, Jane Eyre and The Scarlet Letter.
There is a reason teenagers read the classics.
I didn’t like Gatsby much the first time; the decadence of the era and superficial characters irritated me whether they were meant to or not. I didn’t have much hope for it the second time around.
This time, I ended up thinking Fitzgerald really knew how to write; who knew?
But I still didn’t like Gatsby much.
One of our book club members said, “I loved Gatsby as a teenager; this time around, I just thought he was sleazy.”
I think I might have had Gatsby tendencies as a young person and didn’t like the comparison my subconscious drew between the two of us.
1. I was big on yearning. Yearning without ever getting was kind of interesting. And funny.
When I was 14, another friend and I bought M&Ms (for charity!) and ate them as our lunch at high school. We made wishes on the green M&Ms and hoped for dreamy guys in letter jackets to come over and talk to us. They never did.
In retrospect, I was okay with it. We laughed and had more fun than if the guy had come over and sat with us. I mean, what would we have talked about? Letter jackets? Golf? The benefits of chocolate?
2. I coveted glamour. I know. You’re not supposed to covet. Give me a break. I was 16.
Gatsby had a sleek, covetable vehicle.
One of the girls at our high school had a red BMW with red painted wheels. A guy I thought was amazingly cute had a Jeep that he rode all open even when it was freezing outside.
I had a very large white Oldsmobile with a maroon top and plaid interior. Not many people rushed up to me to ask for a ride home.
“Tomorrow is another day,” I repeated to myself as I walked up from the junior parking lot.
I had visions of a future husband leading me out to the driveway, blindfolded. When I opened my eyes, there would be a beautiful, luxury automobile with a large red bow tied around it.
It may not surprise you too much that I drive a minivan today. Both sliding doors are currently low-functioning with non-existent outside handles.
3. People liked to be around me, and I didn’t even notice. The problem with coveting and acquiring glamorous goods is that you miss out on the opportunities all around you.
There was Gatsby in that great big house with the swanky clothes, yummy food and limitless party-giving capabilities. All these people showed up who he could have gotten to know. The only person he really wanted to know was Daisy.
I had all this great stuff: a quirky car, great ’80s hair, dinner with friends at Applebee’s and a family who loved me. Why did I bother looking across rows of cafeteria tables at boys who didn’t know I existed?
Enough with the yearning.
Life lesson: all you have to do is look at what happened to Gatsby.
And be grateful that you have toilets to clean, I guess.