First page of a young adult novel that I’m currently working on as a side project:
Eccentric is a nice way of calling someone weird.
Victoria Vega had been called weird many times, but never eccentric, and so (as she sometimes reminded herself) she had something to aspire to. People called her aunt eccentric (when they weren’t calling her crazy) but then Victoria’s aunt was a college professor with tenure and credit cards and a mortgage. Victoria herself was just a high school sophomore who wore the wrong clothes, was interested in the wrong things, and who lived by herself way out in the desert with her crazy, eccentric, college professor aunt. So, weird is what she was. For the time being, at least.
Professor Eugeneia Kassiopeia Papadopoulos wasn’t even really her aunt. Victoria just told people that because there wasn’t a good word for “friend of your parents who raised you after they blew themselves up in a laboratory accident.” On the legal documents Professor Papadopoulos was called Victoria’s “guardian” but that word implied a level of supervision that didn’t really match the professor’s approach to parenting. She wasn’t neglectful, just … hands-off … and half the time Victoria felt like she was the one doing the guarding instead of the other way around.
For a while, when she was younger, Victoria had tried to explain to people what her actual relationship to the professor was. Because, well, it seemed important to be precise about such things. But as soon as she got to the “blew themselves up in a laboratory accident” part, their eyes would get all soft and sympathetic and Victoria would be called “you poor thing” which actually was worse than being called weird because weird at least implied interesting with a prospect of future eccentricity while “you poor thing” sounded like you were a sad little pile of old rags
It did no good to tell them that she’d been a tiny baby when it had happened, and that she had no memory of her parents to feel sad over, and that she was quite happy with her current life, thank you very much. They didn’t believe her. Or if they did, they looked at her with something worse than pity because what sort of person wasn’t sad about being an orphan? It just left Victoria feeling tired. And it took away time that could be better spent talking about something interesting – like how we think there are three primary colors only because we have three types of color receptors in our eyes, or how ancient Byzantine emperors punished their rivals by cutting off their noses, or how the double-slit experiment proves that one thing can be in two places at the same time.
With so many interesting things in the world, why were most people so boring?