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BOOKNOTES - THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS

CHAPTER 12

If You Don’t Find It in the Index, Look Very Carefully Throughout the Entire Catalog. -Sears Roebuck Catalog

Summary

The chapter opens with Tibby and Bailey’s interview with Brian McBrian. Tibby thought it was the perfect place for a scorn fest. “He was a caricature of a caricature of a loser.” Bailey very competently sets up the equipment, a surprise to Tibby. The interview itself was meant to be sarcastic so Tibby’s first questions were designed to make him look like a dork. However, she became unnerved by his honesty especially when he said other people lived outside the screen while he lived inside the computer. He explained the game very clearly and told the girls that on February 13th, he became the first and only player to reach the 28th level - the highest level in the game. He also wasn’t upset when he played and didn’t reach that level, because to him, the whole world was in there. Tibby became so engrossed in how he played that eventually the battery died on her camera and she didn’t even notice it. He agreed to finish the interview another time. Then, she stayed and watched him play to the 24th level before being incinerated by a dragon.

The scene shifts to Bee. She went on another run with Eric who was leading his own team. He became resigned that she was going to run alongside him, but was upset by the direction their conversation took. Bee was very direct and told him she wanted him. Eric was too much of a gentleman to hurt her and tried to explain that even though he had noticed her and was attracted to her, he was a coach, and she was only sixteen. She told him that she didn’t care about the rules he was following, but he insisted that he didn’t have a choice about them.

The scene shifts to Lena. The routine breakfast with Bapi continued to be awkward, because he didn’t speak English, and Lena didn’t speak Greek. But it was also awkward because of the fight she had inadvertently set off between him and his friend. She tried to tell him the truth through gestures and the sound of her voice, but Bapi just sweetly covered her hand with his as if to say they didn’t have to talk about it. She decided to tell Effie, her sister, about it first to get a reality check and then tell Grandma and Bapi.

So, she packed up her painting supplies and decided to walk downhill. She walked toward Kostos’ house, hoping she would see him along the way, but no one was home. Then, she felt uncomfortable even with herself and turned back home, unsure of what she would do that day. She told herself that, on the bright side, Kostos wouldn’t be bothering her anymore, but that side didn’t seem so bright just then.


Bee wrote to Carmen telling about a hike they took across a volcano field and down through the canyons to look at ancient Indian rock art. There was one picture after another of huge penises that made her and Diana laugh so hard they had to sit down. It was just another of the crazy pleasures of Baja.

CHAPTER 13

Before You Criticize Someone You Should Walk a Mile in Their Shoes. That Way, When You Criticize Them, You Are a Mile Away From Them, and You Have Their Shoes. - Frieda Norris

Summary

Carmen, Krista, and Lydia were visited by the wedding dressmaker, and Lydia had a difficult time introducing Carmen as her step-daughter. The dressmaker, Barbara, was surprised that Carmen was Albert’s daughter because of her darkness. Carmen immediately and saucily explained that her mother was Puerto Rican and that she spoke with an accent and said the Rosary. The other women failed to pick up on her sarcasm.

Lydia then tried on her wedding gown while Krista proclaimed her a vision, and Carmen wondered how a forty year old woman could such a youthful gown. Krista’s gown was hideous, but unlike Carmen’s, was too big and had to be taken in. Carmen’s was too small and difficult to get on. The dressmaker maliciously commented that she wasn’t sure she had enough fabric to make the adjustments at Carmen’s butt. She even said that she would probably have to start from scratch to make it fit. Carmen was so mortified that she refused to allow the dressmaker to touch her, removed the dress, and told Lydia that she hated her home and that Lydia needed to wear long sleeves. As she went out the door, she ran into Paul, who felt no sympathy for her humiliation, and proclaimed that she antagonized people. Carmen told herself that she just imagined that he had had the nerve to say that to her.

The scene shifts to Tibby who had received the pants from Lena. Bailey thought they were awesome, and Tibby explained that they were “the Pants.” She had created a new world for Bailey by telling her all about her and her friends. She also told how Lena had had the Pants when the incident with Kostos happened. Bailey was more fascinated by Bridget than Lena and wondered what she would do in the Pants. Tibby was sure it would be something insane. Bailey realized from her remark that she worried a lot about Bridget. She also explained to Bailey that nothing interesting had happened to her yet in the Pants.

They then go over to the Pavillion, the town movie theater. She sucked in her breath when she saw Tucker there. Bailey still couldn’t understand what Tibby saw in him, so Tibby explained that he “was only one of the best-looking guys she had ever seen in person.” Tucker recognized Tibby and walked up to start a conversation. Tibby, of course, found like always that she couldn’t talk around him. Bailey just sniffed derisively when he asked if she worked at Wallman’s. Her sarcasm - “No, she just wears the smock ‘cause it’s cool” - made Tibby pull her away. They moved on for their interview with Margaret, the girl who worked in the box office.

Margaret told the girls she had started working at the Pavillion in 1971, thirty years before, which amazed Tibby who didn’t think the woman looked that old. She also told them all about her favorite movies and the fact that she could recite whole scenes from some of them. Tibby still couldn’t believe that she was as old as forty especially because Margaret was so petite that she didn’t even look like she had reached puberty yet. Tibby couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to her. The girls then offered to watch a movie with her and Margaret agreed. During the movie, she looked over at the two girls so many times to gauge their reactions that Tibby wondered if she had ever watched a movie with another person.

The scene shifts to Bridget who was so restless that even the beach and stars above it couldn’t help her sleep. Suddenly, she came up with the idea to walk to the northern end of the cove to the cabin the coaches shared. She was reminded of the report she had read from her psychiatrist after her mother died. She wasn’t supposed to see it, but she had found it in her father’s desk. The psychiatrist had said that she was single-minded in achieving her goals to the point of recklessness. That description applied more than ever to her right then. She promised herself that she would just peek into the cabin, but when she saw him lying on the cot in his boxers, she took one step towards him. He came awake as if sensing her presence even in sleep and then, in alarm, hustled her out of the cabin. He asked her what she was thinking, and Bee’s answer was that she didn’t mean to awaken him, that she only wanted to see him asleep. He didn’t say anything, but he also didn’t move. At that point, Bee felt confident enough to embrace him, and he nearly gave in to the feelings she aroused in him. However, he finally woke up to what was happening and ordered her to go away with the promise that she wouldn’t do that again. Unfortunately, Bee took his comments not to be a rejection, but rather an invitation.

Notes

All of the characters in this chapter need to understand the idea of walking in someone’s shoes. Lydia and Krista as well as the dressmaker seem to have no sympathy for how humiliated Carmen is, but Paul is right when he says that she antagonizes people. Of course, neither he nor Carmen realize that her antagonizism is a defense mechanism to protect herself from people who are uncomfortable with her Hispanic heritage. Bailey doesn’t take the time to understand how Tibby feels about Tucker; she just dismisses him as a loser. Furthermore, Tibby has no idea how Margaret has worked at the movie theater for thirty years and has made it her whole life. Neither can comprehend what has happened to Margaret. Finally, Bee doesn’t take the time to realize what kind of a situation she is forcing on Eric. She thinks only of her own desires.

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