The Secret Trip
The twins are in a computer programming club — think Girl Scouts but for engineering and coding — that I attend as well. The ChickieNob was sharing a computer with a girl recently, and they were waiting for a dad to come by and help them with their wifi connection. The girl tilted the top of her computer toward the ChickieNob and pointed at the stickers decorating her laptop. “I’m really into Star Wars and Harry Potter,” she told her.
“I’m very into Harry Potter, and I used to be into Star Wars,” ChickieNob replied. “The original three movies.”
The kids are entering into that age of passionate and rabid fandom. I mean, yes, there have been things they’ve liked before this point — toys they were obsessed with or movies we watched ad nauseam. But there is a difference now: they have entered that point where every single pore on their body is excreting their love for the objects of their affections. Where it isn’t enough to just accept and enjoy what is offered by the film director or writer, but where they have stepped beyond into having their favourite things enter their self definition and they want to muse on it for hours like a crush, imagining well beyond what is on the page or screen.
They don’t just enjoy Harry Potter. They talk about Harry Potter and his world as if they are classmates; family members.
I love it.
We’ve been talking about going to a Harry Potter conference once we finish the seventh book. They like the idea of finding other people who equally like what they like. They like talking about that point in the future; when they can go to a conference. The anticipation is almost as enjoyable as reading the books.
We were driving this week, and I mentioned a family we met at a dinner party a few years ago. Their kids didn’t know but the morning after the dinner party, they were surprising them and putting them on a plane to London to go to a Doctor Who conference.
“Would you like that? If I just woke you up one morning and didn’t tell you where we were going until we got to the airport?”
“Are you going to do that?” ChickieNob questioned.
“Well… no. I mean, I’m trying to figure out how you would feel about that.”
“Yes,” she told me.
“Yes, please, take me to London to do more Harry Potter things.”
“But would you want to know ahead of time or would you want to be surprised?”
“I would want to be surprised or I would want to know. Mostly, I just want to go do Harry Potter things,” she informed me.
I have a recurring dream where I show up at the airport for a trip and realize that I’ve forgotten my camera. I’m filled with panic because my camera enhances my enjoyment of every trip and activity: I cannot imagine traveling (or doing anything) without a camera. Granted, I always have two cameras on me at all times, but still, Josh knows about this recurring dream and how it speaks to my dislike of being surprised, even with nice things like trips abroad. Part of the enjoyment of travel or a big event is the planning and imagining that takes place beforehand. I like feeling prepared as I set out. I wouldn’t enjoy a Harry Potter conference as much if I didn’t have weeks ahead of time to plan out what I wanted to do and re-read the books and re-watch the movies. Even though sometimes it’s really hard to wait when you know that you’re going.
Where do you stand on the anticipation of travel? Would you want to be surprised with a really good trip and not have to sit through a long wait, or would you feel as if you missed out on the chance to get excited about it ahead of time?