Ever have a case where you’re watching a movie or reading a book or something and you’re finished with the piece before it’s finished with itself? I don’t mean that you don’t like it and don’t want to finish it, but rather you are satisfied with the story at a point prior to its conclusion? And as the pages or minutes roll on you get a sort of disjointed feeling like you’re not supposed to be in the character’s lives anymore?

It’s the sort of feeling you can get when you go to a sporting event that goes into overtime or extra-innings. On one hand, for you to still be there at the end of the game it must be of something interest to you. Who can argue with more of what you’re enjoying? Besides, any game that goes past the buzzer is by definition a competitive game. I suppose it could be a boring defensive game, but good fans appreciate those, too. But whenever I’m at a game that goes into overtime, I never think “Sweet! More game, no extra cost!” Instead, I start going through my mind for the things that I should be doing and getting anxious. A sort of feeling like it’s wrong to leave a game before it’s open. If you don’t care how it ends, why go?

I’ve been listening to a good, albeit long, audiobook on my commute. The story concluded about an hour ago, listeningtime. But it just kept going on. I have no complaints with where the story is going. It hasn’t stopped being interesting. But my interest in it has become distracted by the idea that in my mind it should be over and the idea that I should be listening to the next thing on my queue. and I can’t shake it. The last time I felt this sort of tension was the movie The Departed, but in that case not only did the story go on longer than it needed to, but I didn’t like the developments. In this case, it’s character-focused stuff which is usually my favorite part. And would be my favorite part… save for the fact that there are no super-speedsters in red costumes running around in the story like there would be in the audiobook I’d be listening to if the story would just end already.

Finally, I went forward just to see how much time was remaining and discovered that the story that should have ended an hour ago had over two hours left on it. So I decided that if I was going to spend the whole time in an agitated state that I would just go ahead and take the CD out, put in The Flash, and listen to the rest of the audiobook over my next couple lunches at work or something. That way I can enjoy it without the sense that I am supposed to be listening to something else.

Category: Road, Theater

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4 Responses to Audiobooks in Overtime

  1. Kirk says:

    I have a tendency to walk out on movies when they’re wrapping up. Honestly, it’s rare for me to stay to the end.

    Perhaps most notably, I left in the last 15 minutes of the last Star Wars movie. I’d seen enough.

  2. kevin says:

    Huckleberry Finn is probably the best example of what you describe for me. It’s probably the most schizophrenic work in the canon of American literature. The first half of the book (up to the point where Huck and Jim get separate) is genius. The last half of the book is awful. The reason for that is that Mark Twain wrote the two parts during different periods in his life. He had become very cynical and bitter when he wrote the last half, and it shows.

  3. Abel says:

    I’ll bite. What’s the book you’re listening to?

  4. trumwill says:

    Kirk, I’m way the opposite. Pre-IMDB, I used to stick around for the credits of all movies I went to go see so that I could see some actor’s name that I thought I might recognize. There was always one actor I was interested in.

    Kevin, I haven’t read HF since I was a kid. It’s interesting the effect that intervening years can have on a story. I changed what I’d envisioned the fate of some of the characters in my earlier book when they get a mention in later books. Though my endings because more rather than less optomistic.

    Abel, I don’t want to mention details until I can report whether or not the remaining two hours is worth it. Should be by the end of the day.

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