There is nothing quite like post-apocalyptic survivalist fiction to make you appreciate a good grocery store, you know? I'm reading The Hunger Games (which the rest of the world read - then watched - last year, but last year I was busy growing a baby and did not have the mental fortitude for fiction), and as I walked through Costco yesterday, I kept thinking about how I would not stand a chance in the games. For one thing, I've been too well-fed. It would never occur to me to eat pine bark or to only cook at dusk, when the sky is already hazy. For another, by nature I'm the "flight" over "fight" type. Which, really, will only get you so far if you don't know how to survive in the woods. Even something small, like sleeping in the trees instead of under them - brilliant, Katniss, but would I have thought of it? Probably not. The whole thing makes me thankful for things like granola bars and water bottles.
The psychology of survival is just as interesting as the mechanics. Katniss knows how to survive, and she can understand the behavior of other survivors. Predators and prey, alliances and betrayals - she follows the logic easily. But she cannot make sense of the one who (I suspect) doesn't function in that world. I am about two thirds of the way through, so don't tell me if I'm wrong, but at this point, Peeta baffles her. The baker's son, whose life has not been easy, but who has gone to bed warm and full all of his life. He isn't fighting to stay alive, he's fighting to help her. And she is baffled by his motives. It's fascinating.
Anyway, I didn't intend to write about The Hunger Games, but since I stayed up about three hours late last night immersed in that world, it appears to be what is on my mind this morning. Reading is one of the ways I am returning to the living world since giving birth. Brennan is twelve weeks old now, waking only once to eat at night, and falling into a reasonably predictable routine during the day. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love being a mom, and being at home with my kids. Even so, with four under six years old lately I feel like a cog in a machine, working eighteen hours a day, up every night, seven days a week, forever and ever amen. Feed-scrub-fold-hug, feed-scrub-fold-hug, chugga chugga feed-scrub-fold-hug. I love my life, want this life, but I need more than feed-scrub-fold-hug. I need mental, emotional, and spiritual sustenance of my own. I can't just jump off the train completely, but I am working to carve out space to think about something more than getting through the day. I am reading books again, and blogging again, and (fingers crossed) aiming towards exercising again. They are little things, but it's a start towards learning how to mother a large family without sacrificing my own identity.
And today that includes post-apocalyptic survivalist fiction.
Happy Monday, friends.