Today is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Therefore, it seems appropriate that I tell you how I became a Trekkie, especially since I didn’t even have TV growing up in Africa. I think I might actually have seen part of a Star Trek episode while we were on furlough once, but I had no idea what I was seeing and the only reason I think it happened was that eventually one of the episodes seemed familiar to me!
Since I went to college in the Dark Ages, students did not have their own televisions or computers. Each dormitory had one television, in the central lounge. I never even once watched TV in the lounge of my dorm. However, the lounge of the largest boys’ dorm was packed every weekday afternoon by guys watching Star Trek. I could see them in there through the windows, and I found it amusing that some of them actually arranged their class schedules so as not to miss that all-important show.
Then I got married after my junior year, and we did not even own a television. If we had, I doubt I would have ever turned it on because I was so busy being a newlywed, working three jobs, being a senior, and getting a duodenal ulcer.
At the end of that year, we moved to Georgia at the urging of my in-laws, thus beginning two of the most miserable years of our lives. My sister-in-law lived with us when not away at college, and she had a little twelve-inch black-and-white TV. Every day, my husband would go out looking for work and then return home discouraged right at about the time that Star Trek reruns were on TV. That was my introduction to Star Trek, as a young married woman keeping her husband company when he came home from fruitless job searching.
After about three months, my husband did finally get a job—not in his field, and not really enough to support us. He was no longer home at that time of the afternoon to watch Star Trek. However, by then I was hooked, so I just kept on watching without him! If would be some years before we were given a color TV and I got to see the well-loved episodes in color. I finally understood the “red shirt” jokes!
We eagerly watched The Next Generation when it first came out, and hung in there with it even though we didn’t feel it hit its stride until the third season. And of course, after that Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and even Enterprise, our least favorite.
Others have listed their favorite episodes, or the episodes that they think are “best” from an objective viewpoint, but I’ll just attempt to say why I still care about Star Trek after over thirty years. For me, all the best stories come down to the characters who make me care about them. One of the things I love most about the Star Trek universe is that usually, the stories feature characters I care about, who are each distinct individuals, yet they band together and learn to function as a unit to overcome various threats. This is why I did not like the Enterprise series—I felt there was too much internal conflict within the crew. I know some people love that, but I prefer to see a unified crew battling through life together.
My favorite episodes tend to be the ones that give each character a chance to shine, and that highlight the camaraderie amongst the various members of the crew. I’ll keep watching each new incarnation of Star Trek as it comes out, in hopes that there will be more episodes like that!
Meanwhile, here in real life, Jasper and I had decided to go to a “not back to school” picnic at the park for the one homeschool group I still belong to. I have not made it to park day in some time, and to be honest even if I could have, I would not go during the searing days of a Texas summer. My hope was that Jasper would see some of his friends there, and maybe meet some new kids, and begin to find his place as a teenager in this group. He was pretty excited about going and helped me make sandwiches and deviled eggs to take to the potluck.
For myself, I hoped to see a friend or two, but I sure wasn’t counting on it. I have to sit in the pavilion because of my shade needs, so the only way I get to talk to anyone is if they make a point of coming over to talk to me. And remember, I’m an introvert so sitting in a large group of women just makes me feel very uncomfortable, especially if most of them are strangers!
I did have one conversation, which was more than I expected, but poor Jasper was not so lucky. Gone are the days when he could just join a pack of kids and have fun and be accepted. It’s different when you’re a teenager. There were a few kids there that he knew, but every time he tried to engage them in conversation, they either ignored him or walked away. He ended up riding around on his scooter most of the time. I encouraged him to keep trying to talk to other kids, and he tried to comply, but he finally gave up after not getting a single positive response. *sigh* He’s got some great friends here in the neighborhood, but I was really hoping he could make some friends in the group too. We haven’t given up completely, but I have a feeling that the next time I suggest going to park day, he’s going to be less than thrilled.