I learned something yesterday. I learned it at six o clock P.M. Suddenly I realized it is a luxury to worry about fictional people in fictional circumstances.
Since Friday at 3:30 in the morning, my mind had been consumed with The Hunger Games. My hands were desperate to get a hold of the final installment, Mockingjay. I was distressed to the point of distraction over Peeta, Katniss, and the rest of District 12. Unable to focus on anything else for more than a few minutes, my agony over the fate of these fictitious people I had emotionally invested in was consuming every other thought. And while that may sound exaggerated and dramatic, it's basically true.
My biggest worry for most of yesterday was whether Peeta Mellark was alive, what Katniss would do with her new information, and what was going on in District 12 with Gale and Katniss's family.
At six o clock, however, my family got a phone call that brought me back to reality. Then I realized how blessed a person must be for their greatest concern to be for the lives of imaginary people. To have so few worries of one's own, to have so few pressing cares that one can afford to spend that kind of time and energy being distraught over a work of fiction.
Don't think for a moment that I am condemning emotional involvement with fictional reading. It's a mark of good writing, to find yourself drawn so strongly into a character's life and feelings. But take a moment, when you're agonizing over the cliffhangers, when you're going crazy over the love triangle, when all you can think of are the people in that other world, to appreciate the luxury of that extravagant distress.