Shhh, kids, Aunt Casey has a headache, a cold, and something in her contact. Try to keep it down.
I didn’t do a blog last week, and I’m sorry. I know how you little puppies pine when I’m gone, but I was sick and now midterms are happening and apparently I was only allowed 3 days of health before getting sick again, but that doesn’t make the midterms any less present. If my immune system doesn’t get its act together, it’s not getting a raise. I’ll outsource its job to the pancreas; it hasn’t screwed up yet.
So I’ve spent the last 2 weeks curled up in a ball of stress and misery and junk food.
But we’re not going to count that, because I’m stuffed full of painkillers that haven’t started working yet. Let’s do this!
To the airport, I mean. We don’t actually arrive in Amsterdam until Chapter 11.
Because you see, there’s so much pre-airport stuff that is so important we just have to show it all! Like . . .
We could only take one suitcase. I couldn’t carry one, and Mom insisted that she couldn’t carry two, so we had to jockey for space in this black suitcase my parents had gotten as a wedding present a million years ago, a suitcase that was supposed to spend its life in exotic locales but ended up mostly going back and forth to Dayton, where Morris Property, Inc., had a satellite office that Dad often visited.
Informing us about the suitcase-carrying capacity of Sunshine’s family! And the exciting history of the suitcase’s travels!
I argued with Mom that I should have slightly more than half of the suitcase, since without me and my cancer, we’d never be going to Amsterdam in the first place. Mom countered that since she was twice as large as me and therefore required more physical fabric to preserve her modesty, she deserved at least two-thirds of the suitcase.
I just rolled out of bed, put on my Travel to Amsterdam Outfit (jeans, a pink tank top, and a black cardigan in case the plane was cold).
Telling us exactly what she’s wearing, because as teenage (or preteen, or post-teen) girls (or gents) we obviously care about whether her tank top is pink or not! Such information couldn’t possibly have been left out of the narrative or the entire thing would’ve fallen apart! It’s these essential details that cement Green as one of the best writers of our age!
After all of this, we’re still not in the damn car. First we have to have breakfast with Mom and Dad, because if Green wanted to make this quick and painless, the book wouldn’t be 25 chapters.
Mom insisted that we eat breakfast with Dad, although I had a moral opposition to eating before dawn on the grounds that I was not a nineteenth-century Russian peasant fortifying myself for a day in the fields.
Stop trying to be funny, please; every time I cringe at your jokes it makes my headache worse.
You might think that Sunshine would spend this time talking to her dad—telling him she’ll miss him, thanking him for getting up so early, expressing the closest thing to love she’s capable of feeling. Really, even talking about what you’re going to do in Amsterdam and going on about how excited you are would be understandable. But that’s not quirky enough for our heroine, who won’t stoop to your plebeian normal conversation:
“Why are breakfast foods breakfast foods?” I asked them. “Like, why don’t we have curry for breakfast?”
“But why?” I asked. “I mean, seriously: How did scrambled eggs get stuck with breakfast exclusivity? You can put bacon on a sandwich without anyone freaking out. But the moment your sandwich has an egg, boom, it’s a breakfast sandwich.”
Dad answered with his mouth full. “When you come back, we’ll have breakfast for dinner. Deal?”
“I don’t want to have ‘breakfast for dinner,’” I answered, crossing knife and fork over my mostly full plate. “I want to have scrambled eggs for dinner without this ridiculous construction that a scrambled egg–inclusive meal is breakfast even when it occurs at dinnertime.”
- Nobody cares.
- No, I’m serious; nobody cares.
- If you care, you’re wrong.
- Despite being exhausted, apparently she can still use elegant phrases like “ridiculous construction” and “breakfast exclusivity” before dawn. To be fair, I guess Russian peasants didn’t talk like that. But neither does anyone else.
- You want a nice dinner made with scrambled eggs, Sunshine? You mean, like these?
If you don’t like any of those, Sunshine, maybe try one of these 14 other recipes I found by Googling for 20 seconds. Hey, if she can be a pedantic asshole, so can I.
Anyway, her parents are about as impressed with this speech as I am, thank goodness, though they don’t seem to realize that any of the above recipes exist, which is sad. Trust me, no one should be more culinarily inept than I am.
I knew it was stupid, but I felt kind of bad for scrambled eggs.
You feel worse for eggs than for the people in your support group.
Thank God, they’re finally leaving! I mean, they’re driving like 5 minutes to pick up Mr. Psycho, but I’ll take whatever forward momentum I can get.
As we backed out of the driveway, I kept waving at [my dad]. He was waving back, and crying. It occurred to me that he was probably thinking he might never see me again, which he probably thought every single morning of his entire weekday life as he left for work, which probably sucked.
“Probably.” The only person who cares less about these parents than I do is Sunshine. I don’t know why they like you so much. I guess that’s what parenthood does to a person; they learn to blot out all the poorly-written teen self-centeredness.
Anyway. Gus is here and we can all rejoice:
As we approached the house, I could hear someone crying inside. I didn’t think it was Gus at first, because it didn’t sound anything like the low rumble of his speaking, but then I heard a voice that was definitely a twisted version of his say, “BECAUSE IT IS MY LIFE, MOM. IT BELONGS TO ME.”
Wow. That . . . was awful. I can’t believe anyone would write that line and expect us to take it seriously. I mean, I don’t even know what to say in the face of something that stupid.
Guys, this book sucks.
And you know what’s sad? One of my favorite internet reviewers, quite possibly among the smartest people in the world, loves this book. I don’t know how that’s possible, but it hurts me, because it means the infection can spread to anyone.
Check your loved ones for John Green Enjoyment. You could be their last hope. (This message is brought to you by the OH MY GOD HOW DID NO ONE NOTICE HOW RIDICULOUSLY MELODRAMATIC THIS IS?! Foundation.)
We don’t get to hear the rest of that conversation, though, because Sunshine’s mom is a buzzkill (and probably had to get away from the door before she burst out laughing and woke up the neighbors):
And quickly my mom put her arm around my shoulders and spun me back toward the car, walking quickly, and I was like, “Mom, what’s wrong?”
And she said, “We can’t eavesdrop, Hazel.”
Come on! That was the most interesting
and unintentionally hilarious thing that’s happened in like 8 chapters, and you’re going to skip it? Why did we need over a full page of taking about packing and eggs just to run away from the stuff that might provide entertainment? That’s literally the opposite of how good fiction should work!
I hate you, John Green. So much.
My mom got in and closed the car door. “Next stop, Amsterdam,” she announced.
Just kidding. We can’t miss out on any of the fascinating stuff between now and Europe, right?
The next stop was the airport parking lot, and then a bus took us to the terminal, and then an open-air electric car took us to the security line.
Thanks for clearing that up. I’d just assume you Apparated there if you hadn’t made sure to describe the minutia of your travel in agonizing detail.
The TSA guy at the front of the line was shouting about how our bags had better not contain explosives or firearms or anything liquid over three ounces, and I said to Augustus, “Observation: Standing in line is a form of oppression,” and he said, “Seriously.”
Reading this feels like a thousand tiny bees are pricking my skin, crawling inside of it, and eating their way into my bones.
Okay, they’re in the airport. What are they going to do in the airport? Basically nothing. Is Green going to spend five times as long as he needs to describing the nothing they’re doing in the airport? You betcha.
It sucks to have cancer, in case you hadn’t figured that out by now:
The pain was always there, pulling me inside of myself, demanding to be felt.
Really? Was that line so good you had to put it in twice?
But of course we can’t focus on things like her cancer, because that’d remind us that she probably shouldn’t be going on this trip. Instead we’ll talk about lighter things, like . . .
Augustus said, “I’m gonna get a hamburger before we leave. Can I get you anything?”
“No,” I said, “but I really appreciate your refusal to give in to breakfasty social conventions.”
He tilted his head at me, confused. “Hazel has developed an issue with the ghettoization of scrambled eggs,” Mom said.
“It’s embarrassing that we all just walk through life blindly accepting that scrambled eggs are fundamentally associated with mornings.”
I think this is the closest we’re going to get to a running joke. And it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.
“I want to talk about this more,” Augustus said.
So Gus goes off to get food and doesn’t return for a super long time. Sunshine is worried, which is understandable because he’s the only person she’s ever shown any real affection for and —
I was imagining all kinds of Amsterdam trip–ruining fates (arrest, injury, mental breakdown)
Oh, wait, never mind. She’s just as awful to him as she is to everyone else. I’m starting to wonder if she believes that she’s the only person in existence, and everyone else are robots who hover around to suit her needs.
You gotta admit, it’d make a lot of sense.
Well, we only get to worry about it for half a second, because Green doesn’t know what pacing or tension are, and Mr. Psycho returns just in time to get on the plane:
“Line got superlong, sorry,” he said, offering me a hand up. I took it, and we walked side by side to the gate to preboard.
He’s obviously lying. Are we supposed to think he’s telling the truth? Because there’s no way he is, unless you’re trying to suggest that he isn’t creating a “romantic” moment that automatically loses all its romance because he’s obviously lying!
Girls don’t love being lied to, Green. It’s not something that gets us swooning.
We’re not even halfway through, guys. There’s so much more about eggs and violence and love that we haven’t even gotten to yet. I know I’ve spoiled you with one chapter per blog for a while now, but this one’s bad enough it needs to be broken up.
See you next week for the second half . . . when they might actually get to Amsterdam!