Monday, July 13, 2009

Waiting for July 15th

Tomorrow night at 12:05, I'll be in a crowded movie theater, probably applauding and whispering excitedly to the person sitting next to me as the movie starts. And if you have to ask what movie, you just might have been living in a box without windows, phone, or computer for the past ten or so years.

Okay, so I might be exaggerating.

And when I start to get practical about my obligations and needs, it really doesn't make any sense to go at midnight at all. I have to be at work (which is tiring) at 8:15 the next day. And I'm not the sort of person who can get by on just a few hours of sleep. Besides, the very same movie will be playing throughout the next day. And on Wednesday afternoon, I might even still be able to find people in costume in the movie theater.

But I wouldn't consider skipping the midnight showing. Not now. Because for those of us who grew up as fans of Harry Potter know that perhaps the greatest part of the adrenaline comes from waiting.

With the books, the waiting took one to two years. First, we would finish a book, and start to form theories on what would happen in the next installment. And then gradually, we'd be given small rewards for our patience: the title of the next book. . . a release date. . . interviews with JKR, which gave us clues as to what the next unknown in hard cover may contain.

During each wait, fanfiction and online discussion grew more popular, as did Harry Potter related merchandice. And somehow, the actual books never seemed to disapoint, even after all of the buildup.

And because Harry Potter attained such widespread popularity, none of us had to feel embarrassed by our complete and total obsession. And those of us who did want to seem unique and out-nerd everyone else could just brag about amounts of time spent reading each book, eg: they could say something like, "I finished the Order of the Pheonix in less than 24 hours straight with no sleep. And it was fantastic!"

Reaching the end of the movies, we try to relive the experience of the books, and keep it going for as long as is humanly possible. Because although I've definitely had more significant experiences, I haven't stopped waiting since I was nine years old. And I know that not being able to wait for that familiar series will be one of my reminders that I've really grown up.

So as tomorrow begins and progresses, I will savor every moment. I will wait for the same exact hour on the clock as millions of other people; and we will all form our opinions of this movie at exactly the same time (though sometimes in different timezones). I'll probably arrive early, to get good seats, and as I'll watch the hundreds of other people's excitement build as the minutes disappear.

Yes, I'll experience being outraged or impressed, and enjoying talking about what I've seen. But half of the memory will be formed by the wait before hand. And there are about 26 hours left before the world can start anticipating the seventh movie :).

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Shoes for Walking

Before starting college, I purchased a few pairs of shoes more expensive than anything I would have considered buying before. And not fancy shoes either; I had never been one to wear many high heals, and the shoes I needed were comfortable walking shoes for trudging across campus in all weather. Coming from suburbia, I believed that I would need better shoes than I had ever worn before to endure.

I now owned the very shoes that I had resisted buying in high school with strong moral resolve: why buy something that's supposed to be comfortable for an excess of a hundred dollars? And to look exactly the same as everyone else (at least when looking at the feet). I had always seeked uniqueness.

But when moving on to a new stage of my life, in a different town and lifestyle, where walking rather than driving is the norm for transportation, I figured that I might as well try wearing what I never had before, if only for the rationale of comfortable feet that were barely affordable.

And so, there I stood in snow, in rain, and in wind, in my new, though rustic looking, brand name shoes. And gradually, as I walked everywhere that I needed to go, they began to look more rustic. And more so. Until buckles broke. And the soles of boots grew so worn down that I feared that if I wore them for any longer I would find myself walking on the bare soles of my feet.

Now that I'm at home and my expensive shoes, or what's left of them sit in my closet safe from the elements, my worries about shoes just don't come up any more. When driving everywhere, it's very difficult to destroy a pair of shoes. In fact, I think I'd really have to try. Here in the suburbs, we go for "walks," and "jogs," wearing sneakers that are meant to be worn out. But otherwise, it's into the car in the driveway, and back out of the car in the parking lot of wherever we plan on going.

Honestly, I miss being able to walk everywhere I could have possibly wanted to go. When outside, without metal doors and glass windows to place you in your own little world, it's much easier to feel like a part of everything else. And as I walked from place to place, at a steady, relaxed pace, I overheard interesting bits of conversations that took place on a college campus. It was easier to notice when flowers bloomed, and when a rabbit darted through the bushes when I didn't need to look straight ahead to avoid a car crash.

There's something to be said for being exposed to the elements too. When walking though the rain, I, like my shoes got wet, and if my umbrella broke, a certain adrenaline rush came from running as fast as I could for the nearest shelter. When driving, we tend to feel nearly indestructible. But walking from place to place, not immune to the weather, can allow us to feel truly alive and vulnerable. Truly part of the rest of the world.

When I begin my next year of college this August, I'll start over with new shoes. I'll watch them closely as they pick up scrapes and mud, and as they get bent out of shape. They'll serve to remind me that I am not immune to the snow, and the rain, and the unexpected. And that's half the fun in life.


Once again, if you're reading this, please let me know, in one of many ways- comment, follow, or (if you happen to know me) just tell me what you think in person. Thanks to all!