When: Early January 2002
Where: My father’s car on East Colorado, in view of the under-construction Sierra Madre Villa Station.
Who: My father
Weather: Cold, partly cloudy
Come one, come all, and join me for the year 2002! Since Christmas break, I had gotten into Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings films had started coming out, and I wanted to appreciate the films more. While Tolkien’s world is vivid and detailed, and the internal logic of his world barely leaves a thread hanging, his actual style of writing is dry, long-winded, and confusing.
His academic approach adds to the problem I (and many people, especially men) have with fiction: it’s hard to get a feel for that world, especially when every character has a different name in every language. Only when I started reading books about Tolkien– dictionaries, atlases, primers on classical mythology– did the original work become easier to understand. After that I read everything he wrote.
I can’t remember what it was like to watch The Fellowship of the Ring without the literary background as it’s impossible for humans to remember being unaware, but I was hooked. I’d nearly gotten through The Hobbit when this song came on the air.
I was soon to apply for private schools, and this song reminded me of yet another sense of unawareness: I couldn’t imagine a world in which I wouldn’t get in. My mother warned me, “In all likelihood you’ll be staying at Wilson,” and while I could envision such a scenario, I couldn’t picture what two more years at that hellhole would be like.
My January would be impossibly busy as school wove in and out with this other, singular determination weighing over me. It would be a cold day in hell before I let some prep-punks stop me from getting what I wanted.
Next: Some prep-punks stop me from getting what I want.