ZeldaQueen: So after an epic chapter of bidding, Shannon goes to get her item. She goes to the table to pay for it and then proceeds to whine about how the woman working there is clearly being paid by the hour given how slowly she moves. Yes, I know Shannon's supposed to be eager to get her item, and if it was a different character, I wouldn't be so bothered. Given that Shannon has done nothing but make fun of everyone at this auction though, this feels like more of her whining about everyone who isn't' her. It also doesn't excuse her needlessly pointing out how the woman blinks slowly, “reminding me of a calf”.
AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 47
Shannon pays for the pot with a five and tells the woman to keep the change. This makes the woman's face light up like the Fourth of July, because apparently she's just that thankful for the extra dollar fifty she just got.
She gets the pot and starts feeling incredibly nervous about something, so she decides to head out quick-like. After much pointlessness about her buckling the box into the passenger seat so it won't fall off (wouldn't it be easier to just put it on the car floor?), she starts to drive off, only to be halted by the creepy guy. Yeah, him again.
The creepy guy notes that she won the pot. Shannon tells him about the crack, after being certain to remind us that his breath stinks. Thanks, we might have forgotten or something.
AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 48
The creepy guy starts making incredibly ominous warnings to be careful on the drive back. Shannon promises to be careful, drives off, and mutters, “Freak”.
AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 49
I'll skim over the next few paragraphs. Shannon sees a lot of dark storm clouds approaching, which gets her nervous. She turns on the radio and starts going through, telling us what she listened to in a way that I'm sure is supposed to be funny but mostly is just annoying. She then contemplates stopping by the next “bumpkin gas station” she finds for some chocolate and word on the weather.
We then get something mind-shatteringly stupid.
“For an instant I almost regretted my cell-phone phobia. I don’t own
even one cell phone. All of my friends do—usually multiple phones, like it’s some contest to see how many they can have and how small they can be, kinda the opposite of the penis thing. My best girlfriend (the stuck-up college professor) has a special one installed in her car so she can blab on the phone without taking her hands off the wheel. She also has a cute little deceptively harmless-looking model that nests in her purse. I tolerate the ridicule of my peers because I’ve decided that when they are all dying of brain cancer I am going to tell them 'I told you so.' I continually explain to them that, no, I am
not a Neanderthal out of synch with the modern world. I simply do not need a phone in my car, my purse, my desk, my gym bag, etc., etc. And I will visit them as they are pitifully wasting away from basketball-size brain tumors caused by constant cell-phone radiation waves bombarding their skulls as they chatter about where to meet for lunch and whose stepkids are the most screwed up.”
ZeldaQueen: Jesus fucking Christ. Where to begin?
Okay, I know. Let's start with the year. This book was published in 2001. Now, I'm not sure when Goddess by Mistake was published, but that's moot. Even if it was written early enough that at the time cell phones weren't as ingrained in lives as they are now, this was republished. Something like that should have been looked at.
Now, as Shannon is so fond of reminding us, she is a teacher. Meaning that it is very good for people to have some way of keeping in contact with her. Meaning that if she's not home, her co-workers, boss, and students have no way of reaching her.
Lord! Does PC even realize how limiting it is, not having a cell phone? I got mine when I started college, and that was because it was the first time I'd be off in the big, wide world most of the day and my parents couldn't know exactly when I'd be home or whether or not I'd be able to be reached in the event of an emergency. It wasn't like high school, where they could call the principal's office. And I was a late-bloomer. Everyone I knew had cell phones as early as middle school, again because it was a very convenient way to keep in touch with their parents! In fact, my lack of one caused some trouble when I decided to go out with some friends after class and left my parents a message on a payphone (remember those?) and thus they were unable to call me back to ask questions. And that was before it was necessary! Now, I need my cell phone to hold onto the numbers of my family, their personal cell phones, my boyfriend's phone number, my workplace's number, and EVERY OTHER NUMBER I KEEP TRACK OF!
Okay, that takes care of the fact that it's incredibly fucking stupid to not have a mobile means of communication. Let's address something else – the tone.
Dear God, that has to be one of the most condescending “I'm better than you” piles of shit I've ever had the misfortune of reading! Yes, I know jokes have been made about ridiculous cell phone models or excessive cell phone usage, but those jokes are about overusage! I don't think I've ever seen a comedian make that sort of joke and then act superior for having no cell phone at all!!!
It's one thing to complain about friends having phones they use while driving (and so nice of you to shorthand your best friend as the “stuck-up” one). It's quite another to smugly talk about how they're going to get brain cancer and ha ha, that'll show them for using cell phones! I mean, holy fuckballs! Brain cancer? Does PC even realize how outdated that idea is? She could have just said, “They'll get into car crashes while talking on their phones while driving” and it would have made more sense! As it is, Shannon just sounds like a stereotypical paranoid Hollywood Old Person, the same kind who thinks that every single person online is a sexual predator. And that is pretty much the opposite of how we're supposed to be seeing Shannon, who PC clearly is trying to characterize as a fun, hip person!
(Of course, that's not going into how Shannon, who we're going to later see act sooooo upset at the idea of her friends being angry with her, just described said friends as a bunch of brainless, phone-obsessed idiots who talk about banal things and who she'll smugly lord over when they're dying of brain cancer.)
Now, let's add in how incredibly unnecessary it is. Guys, Shannon's going to be off to her magic land in a minute. A magic land in which cell phones are completely and utterly nonexistent. If PC was so determined to explain why Shannon isn't calling for help, she could easily have written that Shannon left her phone at home, or that it needed recharging. But no. Instead she halted what's supposed to be a tense scene to deliver a rant about cell phones.
And to tie it all together, this sounds exactly like Zoey Redbird, who halted telling us about an out-of-the-body experience she was undergoing to smugly tell us how slutty girls who have lots of sex will die of nasty STDs and THEN they'll be sorry.
AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 50
*glances up* Well, I guess it's appropriate that a pointless aside that halts the plot gets a rant that halts the sporking.
So yeah, Shannon thinks that her wonderful cell phone policy just might cause her trouble now. She tells us how nasty the storm looks, then halts the action again for a tale about how she'd been sunbathing at her “current flavor-of-the-month boyfriend’s” pool (complete with a charming comment that sunbathing is impossible while men are around because they always talk about your breasts) when a storm hit. She wasn't even able to make it fifteen minutes to get home and had to hide in the basement of a hospital's E.R. building as a tornado hit.
To sum up what happens next, a massive amount of rain starts pouring, Shannon is understandably scared, and then she notices that the pot has begun to heat up a freakish amount. She looks down at it, looks back up and sees that the road is gone (I'm honestly not sure if she means that the rain left her unable to see it or if it magically vanished), and then the pot floats out of the box and turns into a burning ball of light. Really.
Shannon looks into the ball and sees a mirror version of herself. She informs us that “[her] mirror image was rushing forward, naked, with arms outstretched and head flung back like a glorious pagan dancer being submerged into the fiery ball”, because people in incredibly stressful situations think things like that.
The fireball swallows up Shannon, she thinks she's about to die, and there is an actually funny line as her last thought is, “Damnit, I should have quit cussing. What if God really is a Baptist?”
And with that, we end not just the chapter but the first part of the book. Yes, folks, Part 1 was entirely Shannon going to an auction, buying a pot, and mentally making fun of everyone.
Next time, we start Part 2 and enter our Mary Sueopia for the first time. Be very afraid.
HAVE I MENTIONED I'M A TEACHER - 8
AS THE RED BIRD FLIES - 50
MY OWN LITTLE FANTASY - 1