Aside from being a figment of my imagination, Hector the Inspector is a little boy with big feelings who has to figure out how to face and deal with the often overwhelming world around him. Ultimately, taking advice from his mother, he sets out to do this by looking for the good in the world.
It’s easy for me to understand Hector because, in many ways, though not all, I am Hector. I do not, in general, like crowded, noisy places, which is ironic given the size of my family and our menagerie. I cannot stand the 24-hour news cycle because of all the contention and yelling birthed by its talking heads and need to fill air time. My natural space bubble around strangers is about six feet, so all the “please stand here” stickers in stores that are re-opening are, for me, a small blessing to come out of an otherwise awful situation. Loud, chaotic situations, especially those in small spaces, make me want to hide in a room by myself.
That is not to say I can never or have never been in crowds or enjoyed and participated in loud things. I went to a Howard Jones concert (don’t laugh) when I was 14 or 15, and I had a blast. At the same time, I’ve never had the desire to go to another indoor concert. I was the baton twirler in my high school marching band and loved every minute of it (mostly), but after Friday night performances and Saturday competitions, I almost always had Sunday to sit quietly in church and then unwind by myself at home. As an adult and parent, I really enjoy going to Universal Studios in Orlando, but we only go in February when the crowds are at their smallest (and we’ve only been there twice, unfortunately). Hector doesn’t like a lot of chaos, but he probably likes to play a good ball game (“Not I,” said the author) and would definitely enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in off-off-peak season.
What is overwhelming and noisy to one person is not necessarily so to another. Hector feels overwhelmed by situations that many others do not find overwhelming. While none of us can, or should expect to, control the world around us to suit our needs 100% of the time, or even most of the time, we can learn to cope with what we can’t control. Over a decade ago, when I had a bunch of little children and had experienced a couple significant losses, I started a blog with the intention of forcing myself to find and write about the good in my life. Specifically, I looked for the humor in otherwise difficult or overwhelming (to me) situations. It helped me immensely. Not only was I able to reframe challenging happenings and laugh about them, I made new friends, great friends, along the way. Hector makes friends along the way as well, and his friends help him cope with the world around him, as good friends always do.
Above all, what I hope every reader knows, or comes to learn, about Hector is this: He is not broken. His sensitivity to the environment is not a weakness. His need for calm and quiet is not a flaw. Though he doesn’t know it now, and may never full realize it himself, these things are his strengths.