Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Needs of the One

About a year after Jake and I met (2005ish), he took me to a midnight screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on 35mm at the Music Box Theatre. His mom, Barb, is a big fan and the two of them used to watch tons of Trek together. Being able to see Wrath of Khan on the big screen was a major event for him. As for me, I’d never seen any Star Trek TV series or movie before that fateful night. I didn’t really know the characters and couldn’t have told you the difference between a Vulcan and a Klingon if you’d asked me. He practically had to drag me there. Think about it - I was a 19 year old college freshman/sophomore in her first serious relationship and my guy wanted to take me to a Star Trek movie. Though I was pretty geeky by that point, I’d thought Star Trek was some dumb, cheesy thing with bad special effects and acting. This was also before hipster and nerd culture had erupted to the extent it has now.  

With all that in mind, I sat down in a theatre surrounded by trekkers, in the first row of course, and proceeded to be absolutely enthralled by the experience. I loved the space action, loved Khan, and loved Spock. I was a goner as soon as he popped up on screen. I wept when his character died even though I had no relationship to that persona or his friendship with Kirk at all before that point. I wept like I later wept while watching Sansho the Bailiff and Some Came Running. Spock could say and express what Kirk, his dearest friend, just couldn’t during those last moments together. Like Dude getting his guns back in Rio Bravo, the emotional reality of the situation was just too much to process for Kirk, the man of a million and a half feelings and snappy comebacks. It wasn’t too much for Spock.  

In the following years, I guess you could say I’ve become something of a hardcore trekker. That fateful night has turned into a lifelong passion. I’ve owned and proudly worn Star Trek jewelry, hosted Star Trek themed dinner parties and must have said “Live Long and Prosper” well over 300 times while working at Whole Foods because I used to end every single one of my closing announcements with that famous Vulcan blessing. One of the best things to happen to me while working there was winning a Best Buy gift card because it enabled me to buy ST: TOS season 3 on blu-ray.  

Though I’ve come to love Janeway, Seven of Nine, Data, Sisko, Picard, Jadzia, Rom and a plethora of other characters, Spock will always be my one and only. There’s just something so appealing, so relatable, about watching a character like Spock grapple with the two sides of his personality, grapple with desperately trying to walk the line between being a logical and emotional being. When you watch him on screen, you can just sense that there’s a volcano of emotion flowing beneath the cool surface, a volcano that he went to great strength and effort to keep dormant. Even though Spock was always chasing perfection, always (visibily) thinking and pondering, he was never a snob about it like most of the other Vulcans have been. On the contrary, Spock was one of the kindest, most gentle souls in the Trek universe. The most human.

Today, I wept like I did on that fateful night ten years ago. Today, Leonard Nimoy passed away at the age of 83. Today, I had to say goodbye to one of my dearest cinematic friends. I, like Kirk, am also at a loss for any meaningful words. I’ll always love you, Mr. Nimoy. Thank you for creating what is truly one of the best characters of all time. Thank you for everything. I desperately wish I had a nice hearty glass of Romulan ale handy to toast your legacy with. Miss you already.
Live long and prosper forever, old friend.