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Monday, June 23, 2008

I Hate Nature and Other Reasons I Will Never Be Anne of Green Gables

I've always been an avid reader. As a little girl, I would curl up with Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott and think, "That Rose is very much like me." She wasn't at all, but I liked to think so because she was such a nice girl--and so popular with her seven boy cousins!

I adored Anne of Green Gables and all the following sequels, yes, even Rilla of Ingleside. I used to think that Anne and I were kindred spirits. We were so much alike! We both loved nature! We both were adventurous!

Now that I'm a grown-up I can see that I was clearly delusional as a child, which makes me wonder if in thirty years I'll look back on me now and think, Poor delusional me--how could I have actually thought motherhood was hard? It was a freaking cakewalk compared to . . . I don't know, what will I be doing in thirty years? Probably living on a compound somewhere. I'm just saying. Communal living has always seemed so appealing, especially if everyone on the commune will just do all the work and let me read all day.

Anyway, as usual, that's not my point. My point is that I have never been anything like sweet Anne, and here's why:

1. I hate nature. My mom, who loves nature, would be all like, "Hey, let's go on a hike!" and I'd be all, "Um, can I take a book and wait for you at the bottom of the trail? Except, how about I wait in the car? Or even better, how about I stay at home?" Anne wouldn't have done that. She actually liked to see trees in blossom. In Anne of Green Gables, there's this line: "Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds." Um, actually yes, yes, you could. You could enjoy it more if you were indoors looking at it and there weren't mosquitoes biting you and you weren't getting sand in your shoes. And if you had millions of dollars, you could get weekly pedicures, and I'm just saying that might make me enjoy any experience just a little more.

2. I hate cleaning. In Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne says dreamily, "It's fun to make dirty things clean and shining again." Um, Anne? Honey? It's not that fun. Especially when I look into my future, and cannot see a single day in the next twenty-nine years where it won't be necessary to unload and load the dishwasher. It's called monotony, sweetie--not fun.

3. I'm dramatic, but not that dramatic, thank you. You know how Anne says it would be "a romantic experience" to almost drown? Not buying it. I'm kind of thinking maybe it would be scary.

And now my baby is screaming to get out of his crib, so I have to leave this little list. But I think just the fact that my baby is screaming makes me a little less like Anne. I feel quite confident that her babies never cried.

21 comments:

Carol said...

You know I have never read (or even viewed) Anne of Green Gables and everyone speaks of it so fondly that I felt like I had this big abyss in my life that should have been filled with the Green gables but after reading that post i get the feeling I wouldn't be so fond of Anne after all so I'll give her a miss.

Surely in 30 years you'll be fulfilling your dream of living in a home for paraplegics.

jennie w. said...

Right on, sister! I was more of an "Emily of New Moon" girl myself. I can't remember anything about Emily, only that she had black hair and green eyes. More my type of coloring. Which, when you're 12, is super important.

heather said...

I had a roommate in college who was obsessed with Anne of Green Gables. She would have tea parties for her friends and serve scones, all the while whistling around like Anne, all cheery.
Creepy.
But I really like Anne too - she's just too innocent to dislike. And she gets herself in such trouble. Oh, the crazy antics....

D said...

The twins she cared for screamed like crazy. I never got through all of the first two Anne of Green Gables books because I had already seen the movie and it followed the books really closely. I couldn't read about Matthew dying. So I skipped those two and read almost everything else that she had ever written. My sister dyed her hair read and played Anne in a play at BYU last year- so I'm really Anne's sister. :)

planetnomad said...

I love this post! I was delusional as a child too. I would thrill along with Anne at the beauty of nature, while driving through said beauty with my nose in a book while my parents fussed at me to LOOK! LOOK! at the mountains, etc.

I am still fond of Anne, but she is a bit drippy when you're an adult. I also preferred Emily, who got the flash and loved to write and wasn't quite as dramatic but who had such remarkable eyes...eyes totally unlike mine, needless to say.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Coming out of lurkdom to say that I loved Anne as a child, too, and often imagined myself to be like her... like you, however, I will never be an Anne clone, for many of the reasons you listed. And I almost drowned when I was 16 years old -- no, it is not romantic; yes, it is terrifying.

Yvonne said...

I was more a Nancy Drew aficionado ; )

Gina said...

Is it ironic that you live on Nature Trail?

Are we good for Friday play date? Should we change the time or leave it?

Jen said...

http://www.annetaintor.com/images/airfresh_camping.jpg

I thought of this Anne Taintor when I read this post. I love the Anne series, too, though I totally agree with your more accurate assessment of cleanliness.

Brooke S said...

Love! Love! Anne of Green Gables. I have them all.. Regan bought them on Video when they were first released years ago. I have such great memories of this story. The first time I saw my Grandpa cry is when we watch this series together. I was staying with my grandparents to help grandpa with my grandma who was dying. Grandpa teared up when Matthew died. It was such a sweet moment we shared together.. I will love this movie for ever.

Jen said...

Best post ever! You really need to publish your "life vignettes"...you could be like the new David Sedaris...but female..and not gay...or Greek...and Mormon...other than that.....

Marie said...

Now I know why I have been getting weird looks lately! The secret is out. Thanks a lot Heidi! A girl can never be trusted :)

Veronica @ Toddled Dredge said...

I linked to this post from my "shared items" widget on my blog, and my not-so-internet-savvy Dad called to tell me how much he enjoyed "my" post about hating nature.

I had to break it to him gently that this wit was not his daughter.

Bisel Family said...

Anne had a nanny! I would like to pretend that I am like Anne too, but alas, I don't have any of her skills. I love nature, but I don't have pretty words like she does ( or like you for that matter).

Josh said...

So when are you going to write another blog about ME?

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

Whoa there! Are you smacking down MY Anne?

I admit I'm not all about the Lake of Shining Waters or anything, but I like READING about nature appreciation. In fact, when I saw the first half of this post's title on Toddled Dredge's "Veronica's Shared Items," I thought it was going to be about Annie Dillard at first.

In Anne's defense, it should be noted that in Windy Poplars she is not yet married, much less having any children yet. Cleaning up after oneself might be more fulfilling (and certainly easier).

And let's not even start on poor Rilla, okay? Rilla of Ingleside is one of my 8 favorites of the series, and it is fantastic! I love the character development and the (naive and shortsighted though it turns out with WWII looming) spiritual impetus "God is on our side so we cannot lose" the Canadians feel in fighting WWI.

How about The Blue Castle? That's my all-time favoritest of LMM's. And talk about nature worship. But it's okay, from my window seat, with the air conditioner going full blast.

So glad to have stumbled on your blog. Hope to see more about (and more appreciation for!) Anne, etc.

Heidi said...

Jane--Whoa, feisty!

The Blue Castle is actually one of the books that I reread at least once a year. I think the difference is that now that I'm older I can separate myself from the characters--I can still enjoy them but not delude myself that I'm like them.

Thank heavens. Because, honestly, wouldn't Anne's drama be a little bit TIRING to keep up?

I'm glad you found my blog too!

courtneynielson said...

heidi...i hope you can remember my days of pretending to be scarlett o'hara & wearing strange hats & gloves to church.
or, how about watching 7 brides for 7 brothers, what was that tall girl's name?
miss you!!! courtney

Heidi said...

HOW CAN YOU FORGET DORCAS, Courtney?

Bea said...

I'm here from Veronica's blog, and I really loved this post. I've always thought imaginary nature was highly preferable to the real thing. Anne never seemed to have any real insect encounters on all her rambles through Lover's Lane and Violet Vale.

Beck said...

I'm here from Veronica's too and you are SO right - I wanted to be Anne, except without loving nature and/or housecleaning. She was just sort of WEIRD about those things.