In the beginning, She is known by her proper name, Rebecca. But then, she decides to change that.
Ana gets up, timidly walking closer to the ship. “After our first session, I looked up some information on your upbringing, and I stumbled onto your school transcript. It seems you took a lot more than just mechanic classes. In fact, you took just about every course available in your school, passing every class with at least a four-point-one grade-point average.” She leans against the cockpit. “You could have gone half your junior year and graduated a year early, but you took more classes instead.” Rebecca moans. “I don’t understand, Rebecca. Why did you take more classes?”
She jumps out of the cockpit. “Call me Becky. Rebecca sounds so formal.” Looking at the greasy tools in her equally greasy hands and then looking up to Ana, grinning, she says, “And I do not feel very formal right now.”
Ana & Becky
‘Why?’ you may ask? Before I answer that, understand that the Clouds of Thought are a method of perception (further explained in Synesthesia and The Clouds of Thought) that can affect a person’s perspective and understanding of, well … everything. In much the same way sight affects a typical person.
If you woke up this morning, and you were suddenly colorblind, the effect would obviously be disturbing and troubling. But after the initial shock, it may not seem readily disabling. After all, you can still see. You may even like the fact that you aren’t distracted by the technicolor cornucopia in which you might find yourself living.
However, under some conditions, it becomes surprisingly dangerous not being able to see color.
Imagine you’re an electrician, and your boss comes to you this day, insisting you’re the only one who can handle this critically important job. He quickly takes you to a site surrounded by peace officers in tactical gear, over to a trailer with men placing explosive containment gear on, along with getting you into some, and they drag you out to a field with this bundle of wires coming out a heavily welded barrel and a small alarm clock. From a 2-way radio, your boss says all you need to do is cut the ‘correct’ red wires. Have fun!
Should you survive and regain your sight of color, you can suddenly appreciate better the contrast it made in your life. Becky experiences an event that gives her a similar experience. Let me allow her to explain, from another portion of the book:
She turns away from him wrapping her arms around her legs, looking down at the floor. “The cloud of thought has always been present in my life. I am a rare exception in being born with these gifts when most have the cloud manifest in puberty or maturity. When I look at my memories, I see no boundary between the cloud and the physical world.”
She briefly looks at her hand again, turning it to look at both sides. “I know now there is a point where the cloud stops and the physical world begins, but I never knew this before two days ago. They have always been the same thing. I found myself discovering the cloud anew, suddenly unsure of what it was, what it could do,” she places her hand around her legs again, “what I could see.”
My example is one way of viewing this. But I think this video offers another, more interesting way of making such a discovery. For this young woman, she discovers, much like Becky, that something she has always known was not something everyone knows (or in this case, sees), and even discovers it at about the same age. While I didn’t see this video when I was developing the clouds of thought (I don’t think YouTube was around in the twentieth century), her ‘discovery’ of this is very similar for Becky.
Of course, this is only partially why she is now ‘Becky.’ Most of what makes her ‘Becky’ is in the book, and trying to explain it out of context would take a lot more than a couple blogs. It’d be easier to read it for yourself! (Shameless Book Plug!)
The change though does introduce another dynamic: Richard is forced to adapt. Remember, he doesn’t want to be married, and didn’t know this person when the book began. And now, the person he knew has changed, for better or worse. I could offer insight as to how he would view this change in her, but I think it is better experienced first-hand, since you can decide if you feel as Richard does about what he sees.
I could speak at length about her, but I think I will step back for now. Her character, like Richard, is important to the story in various ways, but for me to talk further runs the risk of giving away too much. For now, let’s turn to the place Richard recieves a portion of his education: Earth.
You probably would like to know what’s happening on Earth in the future. Next month, we’ll focus on Earth and a few of its people, since they play a role in helping the ‘non-natives’ understand our world, and humans in general. We will start with a brief history of what was found on Earth when ‘they’ arrived. What do you think was found? Leave your comments below.
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