I watched “Battlestar Galactica” for the first time in 2011. I bought my treadmill, put a TV with Netflix in front of it and chose a show with spaceships and action and stuff. It worked well. I lost, like, 30 pounds watching that show, so it did me a solid. But it also got a little too far into my head.
As I was watching it on the treadmill in 2011, my marriage was collapsing. I began to see – or maybe just hallucinate – all kinds of parallels between what happened on the show and what was happening in real life. Not literally, of course. I mean, I would have remembered it if cyborgs and robots and shit came after me. But it did work pretty damn well as grand metaphor.
The end of the world as I knew it going on as the the world ended for the characters. They kept their ship, I kept my house and all efforts were made to maintain normalcy and civilization as we knew it even when it made no sense to do so. Eventually it got to a point where Galactica couldn’t go on anymore. It made its last jump, its back was broken and all that was left to do was to fly it into the sun and start over.
I never truly did that. I’ve done a lot to start over and reboot and make peace with my new, post-apocalyptic reality, but I never went all the way. I look around sometimes and still see little octagonal pieces of paper and formalities and routines that are designed to impose order over chaos and make everything run smoothly. I’ve needed those things at times. I’ve needed to maintain the fiction that life is not all that different than it was before and that I’m still in command of a ship with long-established rules and a clearly laid out mission.
I just started re-watching Battlestar Galactica again. As I get further back into it, I feel less and less sure of those rules and that mission. Maybe because I know what will happen this time. Maybe because I know how untenable holding on to the old ways is.
I wonder if we’ve had too many system breakdowns and compromises of protocol to continue on as if nothing were different. I wonder, sometimes, if I need to just disembark to a safe warm place and send the old battlestar and all it represents into the sun.