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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Battlestar Galactica: An Essay on Obsessions

I woke up at 9 today. Earlier than days I spend the night at my boyfriend’s house, but much later than I used to sleep. I used to be a morning person, but Brent work’s second and third shift and I don’t work so my schedule now mimics his. We stay up until 3 or 4 AM and sleep until noon. I would say 9 was early, but I fell asleep around 10 last night after sleeping until noon. So, needless to say I have hibernated the last 24 hours – sleeping more hours than I was actually awake. I go through periods of hibernating and periods of sleeplessness. This usually coincides with my mood: When I’m depressed I sleep, when I’m in the middle of a project I don’t sleep until it’s done, telling myself you can sleep when you’re dead! The only person in the world who truly gets this is my older sister. She is also the only other person in the world who loves sleeping more than I do. “Megan-Van-Winkle,” she calls herself saying, “I could sleep for twenty lifetimes.”

After sleeping almost 11 hours straight I called her to brag, “I slept so much yesterday!” I also called because she is the only other person who would get why I have slept so much. You see I recently finished something I have been obsessed with for a month or more. It can happen with epic novels or a project or school (I know graduation should be a happy time in life, but I get really sad after I graduate). In this case it was Battlestar Galactica (The newer series that came out in the last ten years). I have obsessed over the series. Postponing runs for days on end, putting off schoolwork, neglecting basic needs like showering and eating. My excuse to myself was the irrational thought that if I did these other things the human race could be wiped out while I was gone. Clearly, my watching affected the outcome of the battles. I finally finished it over the weekend. Brent was disappointed over the ending, but I think I was more upset over the fact that it was over. Finished. Done. No more. The end. What now? It’s like having a close friend move away – you can visit them by watching an episode, but they are gone. I felt the same way when I finished reading Lord of the Rings, when I finished watching the first three seasons of Lost while I was in Iraq and every time I finish rereading The Alchemist. It’s over. It’s done. It’s time to move on. But how?

My older sister, Megan, of course, understood this immediately. She compared it to her obsession with the Twilight series and American Idol last season. “It’s like you are lost and don’t know what to do with your time now,” she says from across the country. She suggests books to read or a new TV series to watch, but I do not want suggestions I want to mourn this end. Yes it was just a TV show, but to someone with a super-over-active-imagination it is so much more – it was my dream-world, my escape, to me it was as real as Santa Claus is to children.

Megan suggests a book, but I tell her, “No I don’t feel like an uplifting book right now.” She suggests I watch Glee, but I don’t have cable, any kind of reception or the internet so I have no way of watching it (except at a coffee-shop with free wi-fi).

She suggests another book, but at my disinterest says, “I know what you are going through. I’ll start ten books after an obsession ends and not finish a single one of them. It’s not like they are bad, they’re just not whatever I was obsessing over. And then there’s the fear of starting an obsession knowing it is going to end.”

Is it so hard to believe? Does someone who breaks up or looses someone close to them not hesitate to form relationships with people afterwards? Is it so hard to believe that after one obsession ends I would hesitate to start the process over knowing the inevitable outcome?

I tend to not finish books a lot for this reason. It can be an incredible book or a horrible book that is entertaining and either way I’ll set it down and never finish the damn thing. Sometimes it is because something shiny distracts me. More often it is because I don’t want it to end. If you never watch the season finale, or read that final chapter then it is always there to finish someday. Ironically, Admiral Adama discusses this reasoning in one of the episodes. He gives President Roslin a book to read during her cancer treatments and tells her he’s never read past a certain part. He doesn’t want it to end so he just rereads the same part over and over again. For people like us curiosity would kill much more than just a stupid cat.

If you are one of those people who likes to finish things with a clean cut end, then you will probably find us as strange as we find you. Brent doesn’t get this about me. He gave me a book to read in June and I have about a 100 pages left to read. I got distracted with school and then started a Robert Heinlein book then got distracted from it and now I can’t seem to remember where I was in either book. I tried to explain that the best books I don’t want to end and therefore don’t finish them, but he gave me his, “you’re on crack and I can’t believe you’re my girlfriend” look and we let it drop. I want to finish the book he gave me, I do! Yet, I don’t know if I can.

It’s hard for me to accept when something is over. It’s no different than school, or holidays, or a relationship. I get sad and depressed and don’t know what to do to fill the free time I now have. There is a void in my day that I now have to fill with something else. Is it that hard to believe when we live in a society that is constantly engaged and entertained? Kids don’t get the full effect of road trips when they can watch movies on portable DVD players. The Xbox generation doesn’t have to deal with the tedious boredom that is inevitable in life, but they also don’t get to think of creative ways to entertain themselves with imaginary worlds and people. Is it so hard to believe that after watching a television series that consumed three hours plus of my day that I would be disappointed that it’s over and disappointed that now I have to find something to do in that time. Eventually I will find a job and a new obsession to fill that time. Scrapbooking, writing, reading, running, something to fill the long hours of the day. Now, it is time to say goodbye to the Battlestar crew and move on with my life.

If you are not quite as obsessive as my family's personalities tend to lean towards, than you probably don’t get it, but that’s why I’ve been on the phone with Megan for three hours today ... trying to find something new to obsess over.