Thursday, October 15, 2009

Calling in a Storm

We live in a mostly material world. Everywhere we turn there is something new and exciting, tempting us to buy it. Objects cry out to us, promising value. People often fail to realize that just because something is expensive, it's not always valuable. You could go out and buy a diamond dog collar for thousands of dollars, but honestly, is it really worth it? Sure, it's priced expensive for a reason, but that doesn't meant it’s really valuable. I could go out and say that a hat is worth $100,000, and to me it might be, but to others it's nothing but a $5 hat. Value is what we see it as, it's different to everyone. It shouldn't be based on prices, especially when you can't put a price on some of the most valuable things in life. How much would you say waking up to a sunny Saturday morning is worth? Or winning a tough game? Could you ever put a price on those long nights you spend hanging out with your friends? Now put a price on that diamond necklace, or Rolex watch. If you had to choose between time with your friends and wearing one of those, which would you choose? Which really values more? All that shimmers is not gold.

I look out at the ominous gray clouds that are taking over the sky. They cast a shadow over the town, promising rain. I pull myself away from the window and turn on the TV. I immediately turn on the weather channel, looking eagerly at the weather advisories. My spirits leap when I see the bright yellow box around South Hadley. Weather Advisory: Severe Thunderstorms makes its way across the screen. I jump up and look back out at the sky, watching the rain already start to pour down. In no time at all the windows are streaked with rain and it’s hard to see outside, so I eventually head up to my room.

I open the windows a little to let in the sound of the rain, and smell it. The cold air hits me quickly, making me shiver and step back from the window. The clock ticks slowly as I wait for the first sign of the storm, hoping the weatherman didn’t fail again. Suddenly, a clap of thunder catches my attention and I jump a little in surprise. The violent outburst sends my three dogs scurrying up to my room, ears down in terror.

I turn off the light, close the door, and crawl into bed. My blankets are warm and protecting from the outside weather. Lightning illuminates the night sky, followed by another crack of thunder. The sky lashes out in anger, holding nothing back. All of the sounds mix into a lullaby, the pattering of rain, the panting of dogs, the sudden outbursts of the thunder and the howling of the wind. I close my eyes and relax, enjoying the perfect night with one dog at my feet, one at my side and one next to my bed.

I walk into my room and instantly plop down my heavy school bag. I reach through my pockets and pull out my treasure to rush it to its charger. I push the power button, bringing it to life. It buzzes and a red Verizon wireless screen greets me. I rest it on my desk, its scratched screen lighting up to charge. I longingly flip it open after a brutal day of school. I check the texts and scroll through the pictures as always. I have to press a little harder than I did a year ago, but the buttons respond and that’s all that matters.

The deep red phone looks perfectly in place in my hand. My fingers fly over the QWERTY keyboard with ease as I tell a friend that I’m home at last. My phone hums at the response and I am instantly connected to my friend. My worn out Env2 has seen more than its fair share of what I would probably call phone abuse if I ever had to give a name. It has been dropped on the sidewalks repeatedly, thrown against beds, and has gone through a few water rides due to my ignorance.

The initial cost was about $200, but I had an upgrade and got it for only $50. Right out of the store it is a new, promising phone, foreign to my touch and sense of directions. After spending days figuring out everything that my red Env2 could do it instantaneously became a part of my everyday life. With unlimited texting and minutes the phone bill comes in at around $200 a month, a major improvement from when I could go over my limits and have to pay the extra fees. Honestly, it’s worth every penny, and that’s not just because it’s not my responsibility to pay the phone bill. My cell phone is more than just a cell phone. It holds memories, instant contact with any friend now matter how far away, and all those things I couldn’t ever remember on my own. I depend on this old, vibrate-only (water damage destroyed the sound) phone to wake me up every morning for school. It’s reliable, and can never forget, quite unlike me.

Both my thunderstorm nights and my cell phone offer me a kind of comfort. My cell phones bring me close to my friends, and I feel safe knowing that they are only a text or call away. My thunderstorm nights bring me closer to my animals, and also make me feel safe hidden under the blankets surrounded by animals I’ve known since I was a little kid. They are also completely different. My phone is always with me, and I know it like the back of my hand now. Thunderstorms at night aren’t as common, and they are nowhere near as predictable. I value both of these things a lot. Without my phone, I’d probably be lost. My thunderstorm nights bring back memories and calm me down, and I cherish them. I couldn’t put a price on either one.I value them so much, I don't care what other people's opinions are on their value.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Just Listen Review

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. Penguin Group, 2006. Genre: Fiction

In Just Listen the seemingly perfect girl, Annabel Greene, has to deal with family problems, rumors, and a dark secret. Her life was turned upside-down when her so-called-best-friend Sophie caught Annabel with her boyfriend, Will. From what was seen, it could easily have been mistaken as Annabel trying to steal him, but only Annabel and Will knew the truth. Instead of giving Annabel a chance to defend herself she cast her aside and exiled her at school, leaving her to sit by herself next to a stranger. Feeling alone she’s forced to lie to her mom to protect her from knowing how much her daughter is suffering. She’s also burdened with having a sister with an eating disorder, making home no longer a haven from the troubles at school, but a just as difficult situation. Being a model she seems to be the girl who has everything from the outside, but you learn that there’s always something more to someone. Carrying the secret of what really happened at the party with Will, Annabel somehow manages to find truth, friendship and courage during the book.

“Dessen weaves a sometimes funny, mostly emotional, and very satisfying story.”-VOYA

Annabel’s lies, guilt, and fear lead to many emotional situations. She discovers truth and safety in a unique form, a boy who never lies. Dessen creates a realistic and almost too good to be true friend for Annabel, Owen. She leads you on the journey from Annabel’s guilt to finding truth. The author constantly creates a believable atmosphere, filled with teenage drama. She snags your interest by not telling exactly what had happened that was haunting Annabel, only giving you hints, challenging you to put the pieces together and see if you’re right. Her style never gets boring, always hiding a message behind the quotes and realizations.
This book is a lot like Dessen’s other stories, portraying teenage struggles and giving inspiration. Her method of making deep, thoughtful quotes, is in most of her books. Although Just Listen has the same general idea of her other books: being a teenager, the storyline is unique and original.

“Eyes closed, I saw only the blackness, reminding me of this one thing, the most deep of my secrets; eyes open, there was only the world that didn’t know it, bright, inescapable, and somehow, still there” (274).
Sarah Desson recently became one of m favorite author’s due to her exciting plots and inspiring quotes. Her books leave you with a good feeling, knowing that the main character overcame so much. Her characters are so relatable it really does give you hope. Her insight into the teenage mind is comfortable and extremely accurate. She never leaves you with a dull moment as she constantly builds up to her main lesson. I would love to read all of her books.