Disrespecting Icarus

I do not remember when I first learned the story of Icarus. I do remember exactly what I thought of him, which was, essentially, that he was an idiot.

No, there really wasn’t any sympathy involved. Rather, I empathized most with his father, who had to watch his son fall to his death. I never quite understood why someone would not be willing to follow simple directions that would have allowed him, in this case, the joys of flying without the whole falling part. They do say it’s not the fall that kills you—but you still end up dead.

Which goes to show, I suppose, that I’d have to identify myself with Hestia…goddess of the home and hearth. Well, I’m about as forgettable as she, although should someone write a Homeric hymn to me, I wouldn’t warrant even five lines*. But then again, I try to avoid walking in front of buses, and my family has always done well longevity-wise.  Still, though I spend much of my time at home, that doesn’t mean I actually look forward to tending the hearth.

Of course, I’ve been taking the application of the archetypes of the Greek myths rather literally. A metaphor will break with you stretch it too far.

I would be far more adventurous if it weren’t so expensive. But I have had a few chances to spread my wings, as it were, with travel. Only once though, “internationally.” And almost always I had to rely on family. My only venture past the US border came when I visited my grandparents in Roseau, Minn. It’s a very tiny town, only a few miles of the border. So one cloudy, blustery day, my brother and I convinced my mom to drive us up to Canada. Unfortunately, it was closed.

Well, actually, we did get in. But it was Sunday, and though we drove through two good-sized towns, nothing was open—excepting an A&W Root Beer restaurant where we stopped for lunch. The only place we could find to get “souvenirs” was a gas station minimart. I got a little crystal-covered cat-bangle watch.

One of my main reasons for being such a homebody, I admit, is because I tend to recognize the similarities of a place and people before the differences. I really have to work to understand—or even to realize—why people wouldn’t get along. For instance, that day in Canada, though everything was closed, and we only drove through, I didn’t see that many differences. Well, they did use the Canadian dollar, which I couldn’t convert, and all the speed signs were in kilometers per hour, which I couldn’t convert either. I’ve never been good with math.

But there were a lot of big box stores, even if they were different from the common ones in California—which they are in the Midwest and eastern US anyway. But just because the names are different, the places really aren’t.

Growing up I spent most of my free time (and not-so-free time) reading. I still read too much, or at least checking out too many books from the library. I’ve never decided what my favorite genre was. I love all the different fictions, really. And most kinds of non-fiction: biographies, histories, sciences, etc. Really, I can’t think of anything I don’t like to read. But this is where the Icarus-Hestia myth comparison just doesn’t work for me. For instance, though staying home reading is probably very “Hestia,” what I read gives me a way to explore parts of the world I will never experience (like Victorian England), and then a new way to interpret the world when I am adventuresome.

So, yes, though I still don’t respect Icarus’ decision to be stupid, I never mind learning more about…well…anything!

*Yes, I wikied it. That is a verb by now, yes?


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