Crazy Things in the Heavens and a Restaurant at the End of the Universe

August 20th, 2017

“Dad keeps saying that it looks like we’re just a bunch of people waiting for the world to end.”

August 21st -7:45 am

“Today’s the day! In Dad’s words, “They’ll be crazy things in the heavens today.””

August 21st -11:04 am

“We saw it, the celestial event of the century. It was amazing. The sky dimmed to a silvery blue, behind us a haze of pale yellow melted upwards into the silver sky. Through our glasses it looked like a dark room with only an ember for light. As the ember began to die, people began to cheer. Then it died, so we pushed our glasses away.

A ring of light shone behind the black circle of the moon. A diamond of white hung on the left side of the sun. Slowly, the light began to return as the moon receded into space.”

I know I should probably give you some kind of explanation for where I’ve been during this last month. Maybe I could tell you that I happened to be on Earth when it was blown up to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Or maybe I could tell you that I was surrounded by Frogstar fighters and was taken to the Total Perspective Vortex and didn’t have Zaphod’s same fate. Or maybe that I was forced to listen to Vogon poetry and became clinically insane. Or maybe that I was whisked away to the nearest restaurant by the Improbabilty Drive, and have been there ever since. But unfortunately, if I tried to tell you any of those things, you might not trust what I said in this blog anymore.

I was a victim of the ever-so-present writer’s block. And it wasn’t that I wasn’t reading, or that I wasn’t being inspired, I was just stuck. I’ll tell you what I mean in my next post. But let’s get to what I’m writing this for, what happened at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe? And what were the “crazy things in the heavens”?

Two years ago, my family and I went down to Woodburn, Oregon to watch the solar eclipse that hung above the heads of all the people in the United States. We camped in an empty tulip field along with hundreds of other families. On the day of the eclipse, at about 10 o’clock in the morning, the whole field was filled with people sitting in camp chairs, staring at nothingness. And we did, we looked like we were just waiting for the world to end. On that diary page I had a little asterisk that said *”It reminds of the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.”(REU). It felt as monumental as the end of the universe had been, and it looked amazing. Like something out of a book.

As impactful and relatable as the book has been, I have to say that I didn’t really love it. I’ve started reading it three times in the last few years, and have never gotten past “Meet the Meat.” I was really bummed, because I loved the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (HG2G). I remember not being able to put it down. And REU was funny. It still had the same great characters. But there was no plot line. I mean sure there was the search for the Ruler of the Universe, but I had no urge to keep reading. Nothing that pulled me back, again and again. It wasn’t worth the time that held me back from reading books that I loved. If a copy of REU is lying on the table, I might pick it up and read a little bit more, but I won’t go searching for it.

Having read the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, it made my solar eclipse experience that much better. But, the story itself is not one that is going to be in my favorites list. That’s the thing with books, you never know which ones you’re really going to love until you read them. Even though a book might not be great, it’s still a bit of knowledge, a different perspective, a little collection of memories. Everything you read, everything you learn, everything you do, does something for you. My brother likes to say that everything you’ve done in your life has lead up to this point, has brought you right here, where you’re standing. It’s true, and I agree with him, the ups and the downs, it’s all part of getting you on track.

So if you’re wondering whether you should read HG2G, I say yes. If you don’t know whether to keep reading the series, I’d say it depends what you’re looking for. For now, I’m just going to leave my HG2G experience at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Let me know…

  • Did you like the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?
  • Have you watched a solar eclipse?
  • What’s your experience with Douglas Adams’ series?

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