In elementary school, summer breaks were the best thing. Two months of fantastic weather not spent at school left kids like me back then to do whatever the hell they wanted. Raised by strict and overprotective parents, however, I was not as fortunate as others; this unfortunate reality was solidified during one particular summer spent entirely at Mikelle and Gliselle’s house.
Months-long sleepovers made that stay feel like summer camp. It was the closest thing to one, anyway, since it was quite unreasonable not only from a parental paranoia standpoint, but also from a financial one as well. The fear of getting “the call” from camp, that something horrible happened to one’s only child, or that someone was bullying them, was something that lingered too much in my mother’s mind, which is why the supposedly next-best and safest thing would be to be around people who she trusted.
Once I broke my foot while on the jungle gym towards the end of that Summer, it was completely different story. I wasn’t necessarily rushed to a hospital or anything; it looked like a harmless fall to outsiders, and frankly, my memory of the moment in which I landed on the sand hard after swinging off the final bar wasn’t even that painful at all. Hell, even my uncle, who was a doctor at the time, thought I walked gingerly enough that it seemed more like a sprain than a broken bone. When we went to the hospital to make sure, I was put in a cast, and it was pretty damn cool. For a kid sheltered most of his life from going out and doing cool things with friends (ha! I didn’t really have any other than my cousins), getting a cast felt like some sort of rite of passage. It was a battle scar of youth, and my nemesis was the playground.
My mother wouldn’t have any of that. All she had to hear over the phone was the word “hospital” and she bolted straight home from downtown where she worked an office job, to coddle me as much as she could, and to nag my medically-certified uncle (her brother) to death. I really couldn’t understand why she would be so worried. I wasn’t really dead or anything; in fact, I was even more alive than before! I was a real kid! Or something.
Somehow, I never really put her perspective into context until I watched Macross Frontier, and that non-spoilerific scene involving pineapple cake (which, supposedly shared several suggestive elements to the original SDF) and Ozma Lee. What made this particular moment special was the rumblings I’d heard about this particular moment in the franchise, and having not watched the original series prior, I had practically no expectations towards what had happened in this episode. In fact, I wasn’t trolled by the episode at all, the way other Macross afficiandos likely had been when they were either watching the series as it aired.
It’s a bit difficult to talk about spoilers: what constitutes a spoiler, who is responsible for spoiling/being spoiled after a particular time, and how one should react after being spoiled of a particular detail of something that they haven’t yet seen or experienced. I personally prefer to not be spoiled, which doesn’t really come as much of a surprise, considering my tendency to want to have a pristine an experience as possible when consuming fictional works. I certainly enjoy shows more when everything is new and unexpected, even the ones that were supposed to build up to something big, but end up being nothing at all.
Spoiler: Your kid was gravely injured and is possibly close to death.
Anti-Spoiler: Your kid just broke a leg swinging off a monkey bar like an idiot and is laughing his ass off with the same amount of idiocy.
I imagine my mother at work, with the anti-spoiler going in one ear, the spoiler coming out the other. It’s the way that she processes information that makes her immediately think of the worst possible scenario, and naturally prepares herself as such. She ends up stressed out over the smallest things, and it caused her to, after this particular fiasco, completely distrust me with doing anything remotely dangerous, to the point where I was even more bubbled away from every other possible experience. I never got to go on the “fun field trips” since. I don’t really hold it against her, but looking back on that particular day at the hospital, I came out with a very good impression of such an institute; nice nurses, cool machines, and not understanding why people don’t realize how awesome casts are.
Hospital settings in fiction seem to come with a sort of foreboding aura. I’ve had my share of visits there, and it’s because of my unique formative experience there that I grew up being rather comfortable in one, even if the mood of a particular visit was somber or even heartwrenching. It’s the reason why its usage in fiction never really sold me in terms of establishing the graveness of a situation.
Oh, Ozma is in the hospital? He’s probably fine. He probably just broke his foot or something. Not that big of a deal. He could probably get Sheryl to sign his cast, because casts are pretty fucking cool. And SDF and the pineapple shoutout? I’m definitely spoiled for that, but that’s alright, because it’s goddamn Macross; I’m watching the same show anyway, right? Don’t answer that. I’ll find that out for myself.