Monday, February 18, 2008

What do Presidents' Day Weekend and Science Fiction Films Have in Common?

When Richard and I first started dating, he forewarned me that he would never be available on Presidents' Day weekend. That is his one inviolate, sacred holiday. Not because he honors those particular presidents, but because that is when the annual twenty-four hour science fiction film festival takes place - from Sunday noon to Monday noon. Yes 24 hours in a dark theater watching sci-fi films from silent 1920's movies like the Russian film Aelita: Queen of Mars, to 1950's Red Menace sub-plot movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, to 1960's trippy movies like 2001; A Space Odyssey, to 1970's favorites like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars; to new releases like Cloverfield.

For several years I wheedled and enticed and whined to try to shift Richard towards abandoning this silly practice and to spending a three day weekend with me in some quaint Vermont inn. He was immovable. I finally decided that the only way I could understand his devotion was to experience it for myself. That way I would be able to mock it more knowledgeably.

I got hooked. For the next fifteen years, I sat by his side amidst a crowd of antennae wearing, ray gun zapping humanoids sitting in the dark for 24 hours as the films rolled on and on. And while I don't love sci-fi films, I do enjoy the view they offer into an era's perspective on the future, on values, relationships, politics, and the enemy. And I do love the ritual of it all.

I stopped going to the festival ten years ago when I first got whacked with a chronic pain condition. This was one of many losses that stood as a marker for how much pain was taking from my life.

This year, on President's Day weekend, I went to the sci-fi film marathon and stayed for the entire twenty-four hours. In fact, I am writing this posting in the immediate dazed, achy, sleep deprived afterglow. I did have some ripples of pain during the marathon, but more importantly, I was back in the saddle (or the very uncomfortable theater seat), next to my sweetie, holding his hand, munching on carrot sticks, and happily traveling to a "galaxy far, far away."

1 comment:

Emily said...

i'm so glad you were able to enjoy an old interest, barbara! pain helps a person appreciate the little things even more, doesn't it?