Calvin and Hobbes

This is the second of three-part series that documents the two-week journey that Kate and I are embarking on. We’re going to a beach town in Spain for a week, then heading to Amsterdam for work.

PART TWO: SPAIN

“Still Relative”

Whenever I have even the whiff of free time, there’s a strong chance I’ll spend it reading. So when I was tasked with choosing a limited list of books to bring with me on this European experience, I was noticeably stressed out. This is not a new trend in my life.

At the age of 11, I got in a screaming (and then sobbing) fit with a poor babysitter who was getting me prepared to spend a weekend away from our home in Los Angeles. I had packed a shirt, pants, socks, and then filled the rest of my large bag with books. They numbered over 20. The thought of being somewhere without the perfect book to read has been a real fear of mine since a young age.

Since our arrival last Friday evening, I’ve burned through three books and a few short stories. I finished the latest one, The Alienist, a copy of which I found in the bookshelves of the home we’re staying, early this afternoon, and I’m now in the sad funk between finishing a book and starting a new one.

To satiate my need, I read a few essays in Consider the Lobster while Kate puttered around the house and tided up (all while listening to a book on tape using her AirPods – this trip has included hours of silence between us as we’ve read. It’s been glorious). As I read, she stuck her head out from behind a corner and said: “There’s a Calvin and Hobbes book here!”

Bill Watterson’s genius comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, holds a special and unique place in my heart. According to my parents, I began to read in earnest in second grade, and it was Calvin and Hobbes compilations that truly opened my mind up to the wonders of reading.

The layers of sarcasm (and competing philosophical attitudes) that were ingrained in the selfishness of Calvin, played against the earnest and through provoking foil of Hobbes occupied hours of my young life. I would pour over these comics with wonder, relishing each and every witty response, even looking up (or asking my parents) the definition of the vocab that Calvin used. My first encounter with the word “homicidal” was the title of one of my favorite compendiums.

It seems like Spain has given me a special love letter to reading in the form of an old Calvin and Hobbes book, just waiting for me to open it up and say hola. It’s not often we get to return to the experiences or items that formed a very core part of the person we have become, but when those little moments pop up, be sure to treasure them.

Much like the unique friendship between Calvin and Hobbes, I know that I’ll forever have an unbreakable bond with the sarcastic young boy and his come-to-life stuffed tiger whose adventures set me on a path to explore words and attempt to create worlds beyond my own two eyes.

And for that, I can only say muchas gracias, Señor Watterson.

Calvin and Hobbes – 5 out of 5 Stars

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