A few weeks ago a couple of friends asked me to join them for a screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I was skeptical at first, considering this was the sixth movie in the series, and I had yet to “experience” any of the previous films.

Of course, I was familiar with the widely successful books (one would have to live under a sorcerer’s stone not to be), but grew irritated with the boy wizard after a Potter look-a-like put a hex on my feet in front of the Chinese Theatre. Apparently, the lunatic was dissatisfied with the color of my shoes. They were red.

Perhaps it’s the grouch in me, but the thought of spending 90 minutes watching some overgrown manchild craft potions and elixirs seemed far too tedious. There’s always better ways for me to occupy my time.

Being an avid bird watcher, I’m constantly on the look out for hook-billed kites, yellow-footed gulls, even the occasional crow. On this particular evening, however, none of my feathered friends were in sight.

“Sure,” I told them. “I’ll go.”

The theater they decided on was not unlike the majority of ones that populate Los Angeles. It had your standard stadium style seating with plush comfortable chairs.

I entered with the raw anticipation of a playful kitten about to unfurl its first ball of twine, only because I had babysat a friend’s kitten earlier that day. Thankfully, no one in the audience was dressed as their favorite character. I had an entire tub of popcorn, and I was not afraid to use it.

Maybe I was foolish to assume I could enjoy a new Harry Potter movie without having seen any of its predecessors. From the moment the opening credits rolled I found myself asking question upon question upon question. I knew the movie’s namesake, but not much else.

Was Harry still in high school? To me he looked to be in his early thirties. What exactly was Hogwarts? Was it in fact a hog? Or merely a wart? I was entirely lost and thought of every possible scenario for an exit plan. But I had already used the bathroom twice and was not about to inconvenience my fellow theatergoers for a third time – the lone downfall of a middle seat.

For a brief moment I thought of what it was like to be young again. When the mindless pleasure of a fantasy movie was not only enjoyable, it was downright fun!

Flash-forward a couple of decades, and I was debating whether or not the First Amendment allowed me to yell fire in a crowded movie theater. There really was no other way out. Ah, how the mind evolves with age.

As the old adage goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. It was late, and with no end in sight, I comfortably fell asleep, only to rise a half-hour later slightly refreshed and slightly confused. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll catch up on all the old Potter films. In the meantime, I think I’ll take a nap.