March 2, 2015

Worst Dates (Part 2)

I went on a first date with a guy who was very proud of his ability to plan dates.  As such, I had no idea what was in store for me.  I was excited because rarely have I been on a surprise date. He picked me up right on time.  Everything was awkward, as it should be on a first date.  I think I said something about the weather and then immediately despised myself.  He started driving and I wondered where he was taking me.  He hinted that we would have great views where we were going.

I was secretly hoping it would not be the Griffith Observatory because everyone seems to think this is a very unique place to take someone on a date, but I think it is the obvious choice, because it is a giant building on a mountain that you can see from everywhere.  There is no secret about it.  Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful.  But, there is no wine there.  Or maybe there is, however I have never found it.  There should be wine there if there is not.

We were soon driving suspiciously close to the Griffith Observatory.  I wanted to guess that that was where we were going, because my date asked me eight thousand times to guess.  But I didn't want to crush him if I guessed correctly, so I kept saying random things like "Nebraska" and "Space!"  Little did I know.

So we took the turn onto the winding road leading up to the Griffith Observatory and it became obvious.  I managed to uphold my obliviousness until the last seconds when I yelled too loudly "Oh wow!  The Observatory!"  I had just been to the Observatory as a work outing, so I didn't think of it as the most exciting and romantic place.  However, I was more concerned with him thinking I was having a good time than actually having a good time, so I put on a smile.

He told me we were going to watch the next show in the Planetarium, which is a dome like room in which projections are made all around to look like the sky, as you sit in chairs that recline slightly.  I had no idea what to expect.  I hadn't had dinner yet, or any wine, so I was stone cold sober and a little hungry.

The show started.  There was a live person telling the story of the universe from the dark, holding a lantern.  Projections all around showed the stars and space and the earth.  I don't quite remember exactly what was said, but the message of the story was very clear: the universe has existed for a long, long, long, long time, with many great events shaping the earth, and an individual human's life is merely a tiny speck on that existence.  I looked over at my date and he was happily exclaiming about how pretty the stars were.  He put his arm around me.  Meanwhile, I was having an existential crisis.

I thought, I've got to do some things.  There are things to do!  What am I doing with my life?  I spent most of the day before watching a marathon of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  Was that a good use of my time?  I must make a difference.  I must change the world.  I must make myself a bigger speck, so that my life has meaning.  Or....is there any point at all?  Should I just jump out of my seat, rip off my clothes, and go streaking through the Observatory instead?  Why not?  Why should I not do that?  Or maybe I should move to an island and live out my life in a tree.  Also - where is the wine when you need it?!

I was sweating and my eyes were watering.  I stared up at the night sky and the changing landscape surrounding me, taunting me, and when I could look at it no more, I glared at the woman who was telling the story of the universe.  How does she do this every night?

Finally, thankfully, the story ended.  I think the last line was, "You are nothing."  No, it wasn't, but it might as well have been.  We walked out and my date was chattering on about how cool that was, but I was in a state of shock.  We walked outside and took in the views of the city, and the cold air did me good.  I stared out at Los Angeles and thought about all of the things I came here to do.  I was having a moment.  Then my date broke the silence with "Do you want to get Thai food?"

I wanted to yell, "Does it even matter?!  The universe!  The universe doesn't give a shit if we get Thai food! That is a tiny problem!  There are things to do!  Big things!!  I must do all of the big things!!!"  But instead I said, "Yes, that would be wonderful."

We walked away from the Observatory.  As we got to my date's car, I took a quick look back at the dome that made me question my entire existence.  It really was a beautiful place.

The Observatory Planetarium kicked me right in the face that night.  It's very easy to get caught up in daily life and the little things, and forget about the big picture.  It's easy to get upset when we only see what is right in front of us.  I do it all the time.  And then I think about the Planetarium and the universe and the vivid and fiery landscapes that surrounded me in the dome that night, and I remember that there are bigger tasks at hand.  But I guess it is all of those little things that make up the big picture.  Because you never know when a tiny, tiny moment that means nothing at the time, will change your life or someone else's for the better.