On Friday November 28th, the teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released (http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/lucasfilm/starwarstheforceawakens/). In the long tradition of celebrating Kardashian posterior, I’m pretty sure it blew up the internet.
I found myself walking through downtown Toronto on the day-of, skirting skyscrapers and bagel shops, street meat vendors and cyclists. I was wearing a suit. Carrying a briefcase that held my laptop. I picked up a moccachino, and mostly thought about what the street salt was doing to my dress shoes. It really bothered me, that salt stain. I even considered ducking into one of the under-street malls that line downtown Toronto and buying a new pair.
Going into the office tower, there was no sign that anyone cared about something as measly as a movie trailer. But I like caffeine, need it, and when I stopped for another coffee, a teenager was sitting at a table in the shop, watching something on her computer… and I stopped.
Now I don’t remember when the state of my dress shoes or the caffeine content of my hot beverage mattered so much to me. I imagine it was around the time I brought my briefcase. In this soul-sucking world of corporate affairs, we get small: we concentrate on the minutae that is necessary to make that world run, and seldom do we look beyond ourselves and feel a moment of wonder.
But I did sit down at the coffee shop and open my laptop. I pulled up the trailer (not a real trailer – just a teaser) and had a look at 1 minute and 28 seconds of nothing. There was no plot contained in the thing. No sense of what this movie is even going to be about. There weren’t even any images of the classic characters (the Luke, the Leia, the Han Solo, the Wookie, the droids, all of whom are supposed to be in this movie) to be found. Sure, there were stormtroopers, x-wing fighters, a funky lightsabre, and a glorious moment with the Millenium Falcon (piloted by who???) and some tie-fighters, but that’s it.
I watched the trailer and then I watched it again. And again. And again. And soon I had watched it enough that I had it memorized, and despite myself – despite the suit and the briefcase and the soiled shoes – I felt a spark of things I had imagined becoming when I grew up and finally I was an adult, too. I remembered dreaming of space and being an astronaut; of diving to the bottom of the seas as an explorer; of sitting back and composing stories because I was a writer. In the oily air of that coffee shop, with my tie choking me and my cell phone buzzing endlessly, it was hard to understand just where I had ended up.
And that’s the question. Where have we ended up? We’re urged to grow up, to mature, to be adult, but at the same time it feels a lot like we make our worlds smaller and less possible by doing so. I think, maybe, we’re at our most intelligent when we’re kids – not necessarily as experienced, but still more intelligent. We see possibilities. We feel wonder. And we don’t let anything limit us.
I didn’t make my meeting. You know, I’m positive that was a bad decision. I’m sure I’m going to pay for it. But so what. Sometimes, you need a reason to re-right yourself, to have a moment to remember that this world has got to be about more than the state of your shoes.