Let the Pottermania Begin

I wouldn’t do it. I refused. For a month and a half during the beginning of eighth grade, I tried to ignore my friends’ insistence that I should. I tuned out their intense conversations in between classes about these people they loved that didn’t actually exist. They debated theories and storylines, and I rolled my eyes.

Not long into this, I came to find out two of my aunts were just as involved as my friends were. And my aunts liked recommending books to me. It’s how I got so immersed in the Dear America series. For several Thanksgivings, I came home with books my aunts thought I’d like. So between my friends and my aunts, I just kind of figured I’d have to do it eventually.

Sometime in October 2000, I gave up. I went to my friend Amanda for help.

“Fine. Tell me which one is first. I’ll read it, but I won’t like it. Then you guys have to drop it.”

We went to the library and she helped me find what I was looking for. I didn’t know which one was first. The only thing I knew about it was what my friends had told me. I was going in completely blind and completely convinced I wouldn’t like it. I didn’t like fantasy or wizards or magic.

After we found the book, I sat down at a table in the library and read the opening of this story so many people loved, but I was sure I would hate. The opening that I would later be able to quote verbatim, because I’d read it so much.

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.”

It was pretty much a downward slope for me after that.

For over a decade, Harry Potter has been at some central point in my life. I first started reading the books after Goblet of Fire was released. In fact, I finished reading the fourth book while I was with the aforementioned aunts that Thanksgiving. Many of my fondest memories are from shared Potter experiences I had with friends. These books essentially defined my teenage years and the stories continue to play a part in my life as an adult.

I tend to re-read the whole series straight through at least once a year. Usually twice. I have yet to do it three times in one year, but I imagine it’ll happen someday.

This July marks the end of an era. The final Harry Potter movie comes out on July 15. There will be no more movies, no more books, no more releases of any kind to use as an excuse to dress up as a favorite character and party with fellow geeks. I was sad when the final book came out a few years ago, but I knew there were more movies to look forward to. Now those will be over too. It’s bittersweet.

But because of this, I’ve been rather reflective lately regarding the last ten years of Pottermania in my life. Over the next months, I’ll be reflecting these points on here. At first, it’s probably going to be a little random, but starting at the end of May or beginning of June, I’ll start to re-read the series again to get ready for the last movie. At which point, I’ll be reflecting on certain moments, certain theories or debates, certain bits of the story, etc. Book by book. Because each book holds special meaning to me. For the last three, I went to the midnight releases. There are specific thoughts I remember having regarding the books or theories around them. There are certain things that happened in my life that relate either directly or indirectly to reading Harry Potter at that time. And, of course, there are certain friends I have that I wouldn’t have known otherwise, certain experiences I’ve had that I wouldn’t have gotten to have.

I feel like, because Harry Potter has held such a spot in my life for so long, it’s long overdue to reflect on all of this. I hope you join me for this ride.

Random Wednesday: Why Tornadoes and I Don’t Get Along

I mean, yeah, no one’s a big fan of tornadoes. I don’t see anyone cheering when they have to take shelter in the basement.

In the interest of full disclosure, Spring is my favorite season. I love the colors and the smells and the warmth (but not too warm of warmth…just enough so I don’t have to wear my wool coat anymore). I love the flowers and the garden-planting and the sounds of lawn mowers cranking up again. It’s a great time of year.

Minus it being the start of storm season.

I’ve always been anxious around storms. The thunder and lightening make me unrealistically nervous. I don’t find the pounding rain soothing. It kind of gets on my nerves when I have to keep unplugging my computer to save it from power surges, and power outages are not my definition of a jolly good time.

But the worst part…the absolute worst part is the tornadoes.

In a way, it’s ironic. I have a rather irrational fear of tornadoes, considering I’ve never actually ended up in one. But my favorite movie is Wizard of Oz and I was addicted to the show Storm Chasers for a few years.

Yeah, I’m a little backwards.

The very idea of tornadoes (outside of my movies or TV) makes me nervous. It could be on the other side of the city, and I still won’t sleep well. It doesn’t help that a tornado siren is located somewhere near my house, so when my county goes on warning, my ears get blasted away. I always get a little jittery whenever I have to go take shelter. And I’ve gotten into this unnerving habit of immediately taking stuff with me to “save,” just in case–my laptop, my first teddy bear (Bunky), my sorority pin.

Fortunately, I’ve figured out ways to relieve the anxiety. In the case of taking shelter, I always take a book with me to read. If I’m reading, I don’t let myself think about what’s going on around me. And if we don’t have to take shelter, I blast my music.

So what inspired this week’s random post? It could possibly be the 2am wake-up call I had this morning when the tornado sirens blared because of the tornado hovering over the other side of the city. It made for a rather tired Erin the rest of the day.

Random Wednesday: Why People in Ohio Need to Learn to Drive in Precipitation

Wednesdays…they’re going to be random. They WERE going to be ranty, but that seemed highly pessimistic of me. So…sometimes there will be rants, and sometimes it’ll just be me spurting off whatever I feel like that week.

This week, I want to talk about why people in Ohio need to learn that precipitation DOES NOT EQUAL driving like a moron.

I mentioned earlier that it was raining on Monday. I hate…HATE…when it rains and/or snows where I live, because for some unknown reason this makes people forget all they learned in driver’s ed. I mean…this is Ohio. It rains a LOT during the spring and snows a LOT during the winter. It’s how the midwest works. But, somehow, during the intervening months, no one can seem to remember what this wet stuff is.

I usually take the back roads to get home from work, mostly because the outer belt is an absolute nightmare during rush hour. BUT, I’ve since learned that when it’s raining hard or snowing, I need to avoid said back roads. The traffic backs up ridiculously. No idea why. It’s not like there are that many more people out and driving when it’s raining/snowing. It’s just that people forget the concepts of the gas pedal and green lights.

So why this rant? It was coming, to be honest. I rant about the sucky driving of my fellow Ohioans nearly every time there’s precipitation in the air, because I just don’t get why this is a problem. But on Monday I nearly got slammed into by some idiot who ran a red light, and that really was the icing on the cake.

The best part was…after I laid on my horn…he just stared at me like “what?” Yeah. What. IT’S A RED LIGHT, GENIUS!

I’m okay, though. I didn’t get hit, even though I was within a few feet of it. But it just didn’t help my mood that day, when I was already not a very happy person (Mondays and I just don’t get along, and this past Monday was particularly drawn out).

The moral of the story? Learn to drive in precipitation. It’s good for you.