This does not apply to you if you had an unbelievably fantabulous Christmas, whether you celebrate that holiday, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, some combination of the above, or none of the above. For all I know, you found the Sun/Saturn square a comfort instead of a straitjacket. And Mercury turning Retrograde on the 26th (at 9:38 a.m. EST) did not necessarily mean that you had to return gifts, if you were lucky enough to receive them at all, because the pants didn't fit right, the choker was choking you, the throw blanket wasn't your style, you already owned the Beatles box set or Season 2 of Mad Men, or it was just...no. No. No way could you keep whatever it was on your person or in your dwelling, not even hidden away in your closet, not even kept to re-gift to some unsuspecting soul next year. For all I know, if you live in the New York area, you liked the cold rain that fell nonstop for over 24 hours, because it made you appreciate yesterday's 50-degree sunshine all the more.
On a personal level Christmas was a hangover, both literally and figuratively speaking. The former I didn't mind so much, as it meant I'd had fun the night before, at a dinner-and-way-beyond party that took away any lingering bitterness I felt over not being invited to an annual party I'd gone to for the past 5 years. The metaphorical come-down I did mind; it wasn't pleasant to see the wrong movie with a close friend after I took the trouble to purchase the Sherlock Holmes tickets online and pick them up a few hours before the movie so we wouldn't have to stand on a long line and wind up getting bad seats (there's only one window at the box office, which is outside the theater). We even met 40 minutes before the movie was scheduled to start in case everyone else had also decided to pick up tickets in advance. I was that paranoid about the Sun/Saturn square, since it was exact at 6:58 p.m., 2 minutes before the movie was supposed to begin. The usher told my friend and I to go to the theater upstairs, but we were too busy catching up on our respective Christmas Eves to notice that the small sign about 20 feet above our heads read Avatar and that it was the other stairs we should've been taking to the other upstairs theater. We also didn't notice anyone holding 3-D glasses. We shut off our cell phones, so did not notice when 7 came and went and they were still showing trailers. Finally, there was an announcement to put on your "Real-D" glasses. Huh?! My friend ran and got them from the lobby while I tried to figure out why I didn't realize Sherlock was a 3-D movie. And when my friend returned, she told me it was already 7:15. There was no way we'd be able to get good seats, or even seats together, at the movie we were supposed to be viewing, which had started 15 minutes ago.
The less said about Avatar, the better. The fact that almost everyone loves this movie, including the critics, is proof that the viewing public's standards have been lowered even more than I ever dreamed possible. It came as no surprise 2.5 hours (that felt like as many eons) later that the usher refused to comp us so we could return to see Sherlock. That was when I finally noticed the sign. I usually love this small, non-corporate movie house, but right then it felt like the equivalent of a highway in New Jersey.
And this personal indignity was small potatoes in the face of what truly made the Sun/Saturn square sucky on a grand scale: that attempted terrorist attack that will now make flying even more of a miserable experience for the 99 percent of us whose main crime when traveling by air is to forget about that dangerous 4 oz. tube of toothpaste or the equally dangerous tweezers stashed away in our toiletries case. I remember when the prospect of flying somewhere got me giddy in a good way. Everything was so laid-back you could even (gasp) smoke on planes, as well as get served a full meal (even if it was kind of gross), plus not have to take your shoes off, get The Wand Treatment, or pay to check luggage. Now I am almost thankful that I don't have the means to fly to Venice or Paris. I feel so sorry for people flying home from family gatherings this week since they'll have to check all those holiday gifts received instead of carrying them aboard the plane in a second bag, and of course pay the airlines more money for the privilege. I can only imagine how humiliating it will be to lose control of one's bladder or bowels because no one is allowed to use the bathroom during the last hour of the flight, and also cannot read a book, access medication, or soothe an anxious child with a stuffed animal because Mr. Teddy might contain explosives. I can only imagine the lawsuits--but then again, perhaps there won't be any, because doing so could land you on a no-fly list. The Sun/Saturn square serves as a grim reminder that the terrorists are winning the War on Terror. Are airlines really any safer because of these arbitrary restrictions? I certainly don't feel any safer knowing that no one can attempt to detonate a commerical plane while standing up or using the lavatory during the final hour of flight. Since Saturn symbolizes limitations as well as structure, I predict that by the time of the next Saturn/Pluto square, those who have no choice but to fly on a plane that they do not own will be locked (Saturn) into their seats and can choose to purchase (credit cards only, please) potties (Pluto) and toilet paper from the airline attendants.
I am not entirely joking about this unfunny scenario.