Exit 78. That’s okay, because you can have some leftovers and reheat them in the microwave.

The full trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released earlier this week, and advance tickets for the movie, which opens in mid-December, also went on sale.  I completely missed this.

There was a time, specifically most of my 20s, when I was on top of all Star Wars-related news.  I didn’t exactly grow up with Star Wars.  I remember seeing it on the big screen at one point; I think it was during a theatrical re-release around the time Return of the Jedi was first released.  But I was too young to fully appreciate what was going on, and since I didn’t have a lot of the toys, and I didn’t keep watching it as an adult, I wasn’t really that knowledgeable about the Star Wars universe.  I remember seeing bits and pieces of The Empire Strikes Back on TV over the years, but I know I never saw Return of the Jedi.  I really got into Star Wars during the 1996-97 school year, my third at UC Davis, when I had a roommate who was a huge Star Wars fan.  Coincidentally, this was also the year that the movies were re-released with new footage (and, thus, when the “Han shot first” controversy first erupted).

So what changed?  Why am I not following Star Wars as closely now as I used to?  I really don’t know.  It isn’t because I don’t like Star Wars anymore; that isn’t true.  It isn’t because I was disappointed with the prequels; I’ve said before that my opinion of the prequels is less unfavorable than that of most people I know.  I still don’t know what it is, but I think the major factor is just that I don’t have time to keep up with movies and entertainment franchises at that level.  I have a very demanding job, and I only have so much time.  Also, society has changed.  Activities like cosplaying, binge-watching, and “Geeking Out” (whatever that means) have become mainstream hobbies that also include adults (at least among the people in my world).  I simply don’t have enough time to devote to this.

Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not going to be like some of my conservative Christian brethren and say that when adults who are into this sort of thing, it reflects a profound lack of maturity that must be fixed and prayed for.  Cosplaying certainly isn’t any less mature of a way to spend one’s time than golf or fishing or shooting or motorcycles or any of the other things that the people who say this think that adult men should be doing.  If being a full-time geek is your thing, good for you.  Have fun with it.  I enjoy hearing your stories and seeing pictures of the costumes.  It’s just not something I can devote that much time to.  And I really don’t appreciate the way some people try to put me down for not being enough of a geek.  That takes the fun out of it and turns those people into bullies.  In addition to all the people who act incredulous when I say I don’t follow Star Trek, or those who think I’m wrong for not hating the Star Wars prequels, or those who get all high and mighty about how dumb sports are when I say I also like watching sports, I’ve also had people put me down for things as ridiculous as saying that pi is my favorite number instead of e, phi, Euler’s constant, or other far more obscure mathematical constants, because liking pi is “too pedestrian.”  Really?  This is how you’re going to treat people?  Asshat.

So back to my point.  So far, I have not bought tickets or made definite plans to see The Force Awakens.  The only person who has invited me along so far is going to a showing late at night as soon as it opens.  I have to work the next day.  It’s not worth the stress to me to call in sick the next day.  With my job, the early morning start time is pretty inflexible, and it’s actually more stressful to plan not to be at work than it is to just go to work (which is why I really hate getting sick).  I’ve told this to my friends before, that I don’t see a lot of movies these days because my friends all go at midnight, and I can’t do that with my work schedule.  Some of my friends have responded by saying that most of them would gladly watch the movie again, another time, and I can go with them then.  Thanks, but this really isn’t helping.  For one thing, most of the time, that never happens (although thank you for those who have in fact followed up that way).  More importantly, though, it still makes me feel excluded.  It’s like my friends saying, “Hi, we’re all going to go out to a great dinner, and we know we’re planning it at a time when you’re unavailable, but that’s okay, because you can have some of our cold leftovers and reheat them in the microwave.”  Gee, thanks.

The problem is that there really isn’t any alternative.  I don’t feel right asking my friends not to have their fun just because of my work schedule.  So if I do see The Force Awakens, there’s a good chance it’ll be either going to be with people who have already seen it, or alone.  And there’s a good chance it won’t be on opening night, since a lot of theaters seem to have sold out before I even heard that tickets went on sale.  But plans could still change.  We’ll see.  Always in motion is the future.

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