here. Part 10 is here.
58 Days Before
Pudge wakes up early one morning, and he's complaining because Alaska is
playing video games and there's lots of loud noises and bright flashing
lights and Pudge is 80 years old, basically. (What the fuck's John Green
like NOW? Or is it a Benjamin Button thing?) Alaska says, I heard you heard
I was a rat, and yeah, I am, so what the fuck now? (I'm paraphrasing.) And
Pudge is like I don't know if I should trust her or not! And I (me, Zac)
continue to NOT CARE about the ethics of Interstudent relationships at
Culver Creek (that's John Green's next Crash Course, obviously) at all. Go ahead,
trust her! Whatever!
I'd certainly had enough of her unpredictability. Cold one day, sweet the
next. Irresistibly flirty one moment, resistibly obnoxious the next. I
preferred the Colonel. At least when he was cranky he had a reason.
WELL WHY DON'T YOU TITFUCK THE COLONEL THEN, PUDGE? Alaska proposes the
idea that Pudge stay with her at school over Thanksgiving break, Harry
Potter-style. Sounds like a good idea! You guys can have sex in everybody
And she has a list that's like, if you've ever followed
someone on Tumblr who has broken up with someone, you know how they publish a list
of all the mundane stuff they used to like to do together? It reads like that: "Driving through
the greater Birmingham area smoking cigarettes and talking about how boring
the greater Birmingham area is... going out late at night and lying in the
dewy soccer field and reading a Kurt Vonnegut book by moonlight..." (Sorry
for your loss, anonymous Tumblr person I am mocking. But there IS a reason
people my age just kept journals, which we could BURN, not things that live
on the Internet forever. I do have some journals I haven't gotten around to
burning yet, but I WILL.)
Then Alaska like, puts her face on his leg and Pudge spends some time
thinking about how many layers of clothing there are between her skin and
his penis, which is--I've made fun of Pudge for
being weirdly clinical and cold about most stuff, and
now--I mean, he's even horny in a nerdy way!
There are times when it is appropriate, even preferable, to get an erection
when someone's face is in close proximity to your penis.
It's also usually the polite thing to do.
This was not one of those times.
I don't know, give it a shot! Pudge calls his mom, she says Are you sure
you don't want to come home for Thanksgiving? We've got "all the cranberry
sauce you can eat." For whom is that a draw? And Pudge tells us he doesn't even
LIKE cranberry sauce at all, and his mom is just a stupid ungrateful bitch
for never remembering which food he likes (paraphrasing again, but all that Oedipal shit is there). GET OVER THAT, guys who complain
about their mom not remembering things about them! SHE BIRTHED YOU and RAISED YOU, she
doesn't have to remember your fucking name! Anyway Pudge's mom lays on the
guilt a little, but he stays strong. I feel you, Pudge. Holiday planning
only gets worse the older you get. You know how when you were little you'd
count down to Christmas like, "Oh my god, it's only eight months away!" I
sit here and I go, "Oh fuck, in eight months I have to deal with Christmas
again." That's not true. I love Christmas. It's difficult for me because I
CARE SO MUCH, okay?
Pudge spends the morning "flipping back and forth" between two papers--way
to be, buddy--and, like, I don't know if you've been to college or boarding
school or whatever yet, but when you get close to the holidays, shit shuts
down. People just disappear, randomly, your friends leave early and
abruptly. And I think this book captures that spirit pretty well, even
though Pudge has a pretty limited social circle. He has three friends and two of them disappear abruptly.
Then, weirdly, Pudge has this moment where he feels really bad about
abandoning his parents, and so he calls them and is about to say Never mind
I'm coming home! And then he finds out that (in like, the ten minutes that have elapsed since his phone call) they booked a vacation without him.
Of course they did. ALTHOUGH, it's weird that they were like, "Oh, our son
isn't going to be home this week, lets go on a vacation!" Your son is home
NEVER weeks. You can go whenever you want!
Anyway, he hangs up the phone and is about to cry, which again, was
confusing for me. I am sure I have had those sort of homesickness-feelings, but I am so
far from them now that I can't even find it at all, in my rolodex of
feelings. Pudge goes out to the river feeling bad and homesick and Alaska
comforts him, and then Alaska has another super MPDG line, when Pudge asks
why she doesn't want to go home for holidays, and she says "I'm afraid of
ghosts. And home is full of them." Cue the opening chords of a Tegan and
Sara song or something.