42: It's the Answer

| Friday, April 2

As I was trying to fall asleep last night, for some reason, the date popped into my head as "42," and I immediately had an inspiration, but I had to file it away so I could actually get some sleep. The following is a true story about how a girl fell in love with a Hitchhiker and came to terms with her nerdy side. 

For some reason, Douglas Adams' A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has been on my mind recently, so it is no surprise that my subconscious wanted me to write about it. When I was about 12, I was browsing the shelves at my local library on my weekly Saturday morning drop-off while Mom ran errands. I came across a book with an interesting cover, a strange title, and the back-cover promise of being hilarious. That book was The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. As perfect as this book seemed, I could not get past the first few pages. Little did I know it was in the middle of a series I would put at the top of my list a mere 14 years later. 
I couldn't stand the book. I didn't get it, it wasn't funny, and at the time, I didn't know I liked reading British writers, and I was not about to let my inner geek goddess show for fear of being "unpopular." It was quickly returned to the library, virtually unread. 

Fast-forward to just after grad-school when I'd been dating my soon-to-be husband for a little while. He had been slowly but surely been bringing out the sci-fi lover in me that had been deeply repressed during my sorority years when Douglas Adams came up in conversation. At that time, I didn't remember my debacle with The Restaurant, so I mentioned that I'd never read any of his books. The fiance was appalled and tried to convince me to read it.  I still wasn't sure I was ready to tackle such a tome of geekery, so I continued to put it off.

About two summers ago, I finally pulled the giant collected works hardback off the bookshelf and began to read.  It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. As a matter of fact, I got pulled into the adventures of Arthur Dent so quickly, that I couldn't deal with the hefty book any longer.  It wasn't practical or portable. I hurried myself to the local used bookstore and bought not just one, but four parts to the "trilogy" in paperback. I spent a good part of the summer traveling the galaxy alongside the rag-tag bunch and enjoyed myself immensely. I was beginning to see what all the fuss was about, and I was glad to be privy to it. Also, Zaphod Beeblebrox is quite possibly the best alien name ever, I've concluded.

Now, I often contemplate never traveling anywhere without a towel, am familiar with the worst poetry in the universe (but don't tell the Vogons!), learned more than I could ever imagine about cricket, find Radiohead even more awesome for "Paranoid Android," and have even purchased a particularly awesome t-shirt from ThinkGeek. I have accepted that I will never be quite mainstream for I have come to terms with my inner-geek, with some MAJOR help from this series.

So long, Mr. Adams, and thanks for all the fish!


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