Commuting And Dating

This morning on the subway, a quasi-cute guy offered to switch spots with me so I could lean against the wall instead of standing in the middle of the connecting section between cars. I usually go stand in that area because most people don’t, and there is always more space there than, say, near the doors, where everyone feels the need to congregate. For reasons I don’t understand.

Anyway.

I had my headphones on and had moved to stand in between the two guys who were already in the connecting section of that part of the train, as usual. I was reading headlines over people’s shoulders, gawking at the various ads placed around my part of the train, and vaguely listening to whatever was playing on my headphones. Just thinking and riding along, as I do.

All of a sudden, the guy behind me kind of waved his hand to one side of me – not in an annoying way, just in a way that suggested he may have been trying to get my attention, or that he was possibly just stretching. I turned my head toward his hand, and he lifted his phone up next to me and pointed at it. He’d opened his notepad on there and typed, “Would you like to stand against the wall for support?”

Since the new trains have been in play, I can’t remember anyone ever offering me that spot before. Occasionally I get offered a seat, but never the wall, nor even a doorway.

I turned to look at him, and smiled as I thanked him but declined, and he smiled back in such a way as to make him cuter than he perhaps actually was. I don’t mean that in a cruel way – I just wasn’t sure how else to word it. In essence, it was a very sweet smile, and engaging, if only for a fleeting moment, in this case. I think that’s one of the things that I like about people; when they smile at me nice. It makes them stand out to me, more than someone who is just kind of there. It makes them seem more present, or something.

I resumed my transit reverie, and not long after, I read a headline over someone’s shoulder that caught my eye. It said something about listing 5 honest reasons why the writer was on a dating hiatus, or something. I’m often curious as to why some people choose to be single (I mean, this article was obviously written by a woman, though I never confirmed it, to be honest), especially when I want to see if any of their reasons align with what mine might be.

None of the reasons listed this time did, however.

The writer stated that they were in their early 30’s, or so (bless), and seemed to be in that stage of life where all of your friends are marrying and having children, and you’re not, so you start thinking about whether or not you want to do that, too. Or something. I can’t really remember what I was thinking back then.

At any rate, there were the usual reasons like, “I don’t like the options I have to choose from” and “I’m tired of having sex with someone I like rather than someone I love”. Those kinds of things. I can’t even remember all five reasons right now.

Rather than try to read more of it over a fellow traveller’s shoulder, I started thinking about why I’m on a dating hiatus myself. I don’t think I ever would have called it that, for starters. I say simply, “I don’t date”, but I guess that’s not entirely true, either. I think I would date, if I happened to bump into someone who intrigued me. I’m just not in the mood to go out looking for someone to intrigue me. I’m lazy like that these days.

Obviously, the main reason I choose not to date right now is because I have feelings for someone who isn’t able to reciprocate them in the same way, and there isn’t really a way to replace that person with someone else. Rather, another person will come along someday who intrigues me in a different way, and that’s where my heart will go. But I don’t think it can be forced. Whenever I’ve tried in the past, I wind up feeling angry at myself for trying so hard to “settle for less” – or at least for trying to force myself to ignore my actual feelings and feign other ones. Plus, it’s obvious to me in those situations that I’m not giving it my all, and while the other person may or may not deserve more of me, that I’m not giving it means whatever it is will be destined to fail, anyway.

And that’s something, too – the people I potentially want to get to know better don’t usually feel the same way about me, and those who do are often of no interest to me. I realize that could devolve into a “poor me” melodramatic situation (and it has before), but for me right now, as I write this, it’s more just frustrating, and tiring, and not something I’m interested in diving into the thick of at this point in my life. I’d rather go home to the dog and cats and be content than try to force myself to feel differently about anyone.

I can make up all the “reasons” in the world – I don’t have time, I don’t like people, I’m focused on other things, I want to stay home with the animals, people are stupid, I’m tired, I’m broke, I lose myself in relationships and I’m just beginning to like myself again, I’m still in love with my ex, I don’t want to date just for the sake of dating, I’m complicated and no one really gets me so I’d rather be alone, I am a rock, I am an island…wait…scratch that last part. At any rate, all of those things hold at least a grain of truth, and there are still more not listed. But the simple fact is that dating hasn’t gone well for me so far – it’s difficult, and consuming and I’m not good at it and inevitably wind up feeling like a failure in life, and who wants to feel that all the time? Who wants to feel like a disappointment to someone they care about?

I don’t, and I can’t even stop feeling like I let my friends down constantly, let alone someone with whom I am in a romantic relationship. I mean, it’s never all bad, of course. Sometimes it’s amazing, to feel connected to someone else. It’s amazing to feel like I’m in love, and that I am loved in return. It’s amazing to not feel alone in the world sometimes. But when those feelings go away, what replaces them feels worse, usually.

I think mainly I don’t date because I’m afraid of feeling all that again. Which I realize I’ve written to seem like it’s a reason, but I know that – like the entire above list – is not a reason so much as it is an excuse.

And for now, I am fine with that. Not great, but also not forever. For now, though, I am fine with making excuses. When that changes – and it will – I’ll make the choice to do things differently again. But it’ll be my choice, and therein is where I find my satisfaction.

Because the understanding that I am actually okay either way is perhaps the most amazing feeling of all.

Some Exciting Updates

Wicked headache, still leftover from yesterday. It’s kind of distracting, actually.  Even my friend Extra Strength Advil isn’t quite taking the edge off anymore.

So, let’s see…some quick updates…

Young Jack Bear seems more himself now after his bout of puking yesterday morning. Last night he even helped me untie my shoes, just like he always does, so that’s good. His appetite has not waned at all, either. He’s huge. But still handsome. My baby boy.

My volunteer orientation session went pretty great yesterday. Got some questions answered and some concerns assuaged, and realized while I was still there that I was already a good 95% decided that I would give it a go, which is a far cry from the urge to just not go to the session and back out before it had even begun. Now that I’ve been there, I have a much better feel for everything, and the fact that nothing is set in stone makes me feel a lot better about it. I feel more confident that I’ll be able to contribute and enjoy the volunteering experience there. I have to work one shift before committing to any sort of schedule, but the flexibility factor is huge for me, especially given the fact that my body doesn’t always like to cooperate the way I want it to. And being able to do weekend shifts is huge – that way I won’t be gone from Brody for so much longer than a workday. The place is remote by transit, so timing of shifts is definitely a factor. It also sounds like tasks we’re asked to do on our shifts will be somewhat catered to each volunteer’s strengths and preferences, with a ton of room to learn new things and develop skills in other areas.

I’m still not going to discuss the “where” until after I have worked the first shift and am certain I’m staying on there, but suffice it to say that I am probably the most excited about it now than I ever have been, and am hopeful that the excitement level will only build the further involved I become. It even gave me a vague idea of how I might potentially take better care of my fur family (including Brody, although he has hair not fur), which only fuels my eagerness all the more. They told us not to decide right away – to mull it over – and since this weekend is insanely busy, I’m going to wait until Monday to contact them to let them know I’m in. I suppose I might change my mind in the meantime – I’ll definitely be thinking about it a lot – but if that ends up being the case, then better to actually make a decision than waffle back and forth on it after telling them one way or the other first. I don’t think I’ll change my mind, though. I haven’t really volunteered for anything like this before, except for Big Brothers Big Sisters, but there is a lot more here that just feels right for me. A ton that I am worried about, but after yesterday, I am even less concerned about that. I feel like it’ll be an amazing learning experience but with the fear of failure pushed more to the back-burner, because they want everyone to succeed, too. It’s much easier to ask a billion questions and have your work double-checked than it is to fix a mistake once you’ve made it, and I kind of like the idea of being a help but also being coached to do better. The opportunities that will be available as time goes by – assuming I thrive somewhat – are actually endless.

I’m excited!

Another thing I’m excited about today is that we’re finally recording our first radio play tonight! The details are falling into place (at least on my end – haha), and the link to watch it live online is being promoted (you can see it all unfold here:  http://livestream.com/accounts/10837752/events/5652277), and my mind has been mulling over not only this one, but future episodes, as well. Now that the moment of this first one is nearly upon us, I have far more confidence in my ability to successfully pull it off, and start planning the next one! Already I’ve got new ideas cropping up, and I’m eager to dive into it all with everyone this evening. It’s going to be so much fun!

Yet another thing I am excited about today – even though I heard the rumour yesterday, it was confirmed today – is that MARK HAMILL is coming to Fan Expo! What?! I have no idea how to afford it, but if there is one thing I get for my birthday this year (which happens to be that weekend, as well), it will be that man’s autograph on the same picture that Carrie Fisher signed the first time I met her. It was one of the ones from my fan club membership kit, and it’s in terrible shape from hanging on my wall, but I love it all the more for that. And once she had signed it, I knew that would be the one thing I would want if I ever met him.

I’m also pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Had anyone ever asked me which guest I would most like to meet at a convention, my answer would always have been Mark Hamill. He has been a part of my life – a huge part – from the time I was 5 years old. He’s it for me. More than Carrie Fisher (although I cried when I met her, Leia was more my passion as I got a bit older), more than even George Lucas himself. Luke Skywalker has always been my guy, and will always be my guy. My gateway to the Force; to that galaxy far far away; and the reason I love it so much.

It’s him. And he’s coming here at last.

I’ll freaking cry again. Gah. So ridiculous.

I mean, my ultimate interview guest for The Mind Reels would be Ricky Schroder. I have no idea if I’d be able to play it cool, or if I’d turn into a 12 year old again. But interviewing him would be a dream come true. I used to fantasize about doing that when I was reading all those teen magazines. I imagined what questions I’d ask and how awesome he’d think I was and how I would write my article about it. Well, screw THAT dream – now I want to interview him live online and…hopefully not revert to being too childish! At least not the whole time.

So yeah. Mark Hamill. I need to start saving money now in the hopes that I can scrape together enough for one signature on one decades-old picture which would pretty much complete my geek life as far as holy grails are concerned. Of course, I’d lose my mind for a photo op, too, but they are about 2 seconds long and while it’d be amazing, I feel like this time the autograph moments would mean more to me in the end. They did with Carrie Fisher, after all. Just the chance to shake a hand, make eye contact with the man who brought my biggest lifelong hero to life…

And say thank you.

daisy-ridley-and-mark-hamill-recreated-an-iconic-star-wars-image-and-fans-are-having-a-field-dayeonN0fp

Do NOT Read Unless You’ve Seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens

tfa_poster_wide_header-1536x864-324397389357

Or, you know, if you don’t care about spoilers.

They are minor spoilers, but regardless, you’ve been warned.

So, I’ve been thinking about the map. You know, the one that leads to Skywalker, that was at the heart of the whole film. In addition to blowing up the Death Star 3.0 thingy, of course.

I was thinking last night, and trying to backtrack a bit to before Luke disappeared. I never really questioned that R2 might have a copy of the same map that the Empire/First Order had, because even if it hadn’t occurred to me that R2 may have downloaded it when he’d plugged into the Death Star decades earlier, I’m used to the Expanded Universe, wherein the Alliance learned a lot from the records that had been kept on Corusant after it had been liberated from the Empire’s grasp once the 2nd Death Star was destroyed. So to me, many of the old Empire records (haha I liked that movie!) would have been fair game.

And the map on both sides was incomplete, which I guess would make sense if Luke himself had to go searching for the first Jedi temple. That may never have been common knowledge.

So, presumably, at some point, Luke found what he was looking for, and added it to the map. He created the missing segment and either gave it to Max von Sydow, or left it somewhere it could be found. Hopefully by an ally.

Maybe it was created from whatever transportation he used to get there. Whatever. I’m not even sure how the first part of his journey was available on both R2’s copy and the First Order’s, but maybe the FO was just able to narrow it down based on the missing piece, and needed that last bit to pinpoint Luke’s location. It all makes for a sweet team effort between R2 and BB-8 (WHOM I FREAKING LOVE), so I’ll allow it.

To me, the more important piece of information is WHERE that missing piece was left and located.

From what we can tell so far, it was on Jakku.

The same place Rey was left years ago.

That can’t possibly be a coincidence. Not even in a galaxy far, far away.

Maybe Max von Sydow was its guardian. Maybe he was even there to keep an eye on young Rey, much the way Obi-Wan kept an eye on Luke – from a distance – while he was growing up on Tatooine. Maybe not. But regardless of the connection, or if there even is one, my brain keeps going over everything we learn in the film, and trying to figure out who Rey could be.

It’s kind of an obsession, to be honest. I haven’t been this excited about a new character in that universe since my introduction to Mara Jade. The fact that Daisy Ridley looks so much like Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley makes me think she’s at least related to Luke and Leia in some way, but it is of course possible that she’s not. Maybe she’s a Kenobi. Maybe she’s from another family entirely that was or was not strong in the Force. Though abandoning a kid on a desert planet by herself for no reason seems kind of cold, so I’m thinking someone knew she was important. Or that she would be.

Plus, there’s all the little things that tie her to our known heroes. The hug with Leia even though they’d never met, while Chewie and Leia didn’t even acknowledge one another at that point.  Han and Leia were both unconcerned when Kylo Ren took Rey with him, and I don’t feel that was a lack of compassion on their part. I think it was more that they knew she’d be okay with Ren, at least for awhile.

(By the way, why would his name be Ben? That didn’t really make sense to me, but whatever. I’ll allow that, too, for sentimentality’s sake. Haha)

The visions when she touched the lightsaber were all from the outside, and mostly of events and people she had never witnessed in person. Even the flashback to being left behind on Jakku was from someone else’s point of view. It could have just been how it was edited, but she was looking down at herself, not up at the ship leaving, as if she was re-living it from her point of view. As well, the lightsaber was not present at any of those events, either, so there must be some connection between it and Rey through the Force itself. Not just ANY lightsaber, but that one in particular.

She’d had visions of Luke’s location before she’d seen it, and as they approach the island, Chewie glances at her, as if to gauge her reaction to seeing it in person.

And she is a very quick study in the ways of the Force, especially considering she thought it was all legend. I don’t know the timing of everything yet, but if she was left on Jakku around the time Kylo Ren turned dark, she was not an infant, and Luke had a whole legion of people he’d been training, so the Jedi wouldn’t have exactly been hiding at that point. They would have been known throughout the galaxy, at least of their existence. So that she picks everything Force-related up so quickly makes me think maybe she’s a tad more connected to the Force than even Luke had been when he was young and untrained.

Or born in it, like Anakin, but that seemed a bit much.

Anyway, it occurred to me that the missing piece of the map was located on the same planet as Rey, and that both needed to find their way to the Republic, and eventually lead her in particular to Luke. There’s a lot going on emotionally for both characters by the time they see one another, and I personally can’t wait to see what happens in the immediate moments following where TFA leaves off, let alone anything else that happens in Episode 8!

How many more months to go now?