a late night rendezvous

At 2:55 AM today, I witnessed something that I thought was reserved only for sporting events and theme parks. I had gathered with friends, some old some new, in a place full of heavy breathing and men with playing with swords. There amongst the throngs of faithful people was a line to get into the men’s bathroom.

You may be asking yourself: self, where does such an anomaly of occur if not at a sporting event or theme park? My friends, this aberration of nature occurred at the end of the 12:01 AM showing of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. Yes, there amongst the black clad Lord Vaders, bathrobe wearing Obi-Wan’s, and two or three Queen Amidalas, stood yours truly.

Our motley crew gathered around ten o’clock outside the theatre. We were late. A Darth Vader in a black dress and heels battled a ten-year old Obi-Wan in the parking lot. Television cameras panned the crowd while radio stations gave away freebies. The lines continued to grow as Stormtroopers, Jedi Knights, and a guy in Gap jeans and a Boba Fett helmet arrived. I have always been a fan of Star Wars, but this night I was awestruck.

I stood there as fan after fan wandered through the crowds, ranking the Star Wars movies, quoting lines, and brandishing light sabers. We were seated in our theatre by 10:30 (it was showing on 8 screens to packed audiences) and proceeded to wait for two hours before the previews began. The crowd erupted in applause as the now infamous fading intro appeared. We let out collective gasps as the light saber duels raced across the screens; and we held our breaths as the evil let loose upon the universe in 1977 was born before our eyes.

I loved feeling young again, lost in the fantasy of another. It was a great experience to gather with some many people who are passionate about a series of films. Many of these people have followed the saga from start to finish. They remember seeing one of early films in the theatres for the first time. They recall being opened to a world of fantasy and fiction that somehow was real enough to be believed. The excitement and energy of the crowd remained steady from start to finish.

I miss being able to stay up late or never sleep. I miss the wide-eyed naivety that comes with seeing the fantasies of others unfold before my eyes. I think what I miss most is believing that I will never grow up, never be like those old fuddy-duddies. Well, never say never. It is not that I am so old; it is that some arbitrary notion of maturity has taken over my perceptions of who I should be. I don’t want to run off and be a kid or some irresponsible lout. I just don’t want to be cast into that societal pattern of adulthood.

Can one be an adult and yet maintain the freedom of youth, the creativity of childhood, and the naivety of our soul? I surely hope so. It is in creativity, freedom, and naivety that we are able to take the journeys that are meaningful. Responsibility should not be abandoned for recklessness, but freedom should not be sacrificed for security as well.

A friend believed this midnight madness of movie watching was the closing of the door to his childhood. I hope that it is not. Instead, I hope that this is a gateway to remembering what it was that drew him into this universe. I hope that the door opened by our midnight trek will remain open as his son grows and stretches and finds his own fantasies and dream worlds.

So don your helmets you Darth Vaders and Boba Fetts. Search your feelings you Jedi Masters and Padawans. Life is meant to be lived creatively in this present world. Do not fear, for fear leads to the dark side. Instead, look to the sky and see your destiny among the stars. For you are not alone in your travels, there are many on the same journey, we only need to look around us to see those who care and support us. When our eyes are open we can look to our neighbor, and in the words of one who is much smarter that I, say, “Cover me Porkins, I’m goin’ in.”



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