Sunday, October 12, 2014

Day 340 - October 6th

I awoke with the annoying sensation of being faintly ill. A sore throat is not a sign of good health. I must have acquired it from all the drunk shout talking. I slept in some then proceeded to drink lots of tea, hoping that would be enough to stifle the bug. After some work on the computer I used the metro to get downtown and begin my life as a tourist. In retrospect however, I should have stayed home and napped. I failed to take in exactly how tired I was and instead proceeded to pace like a frail old man about the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. I tried to devote my attention to the scientific wonders around me, the lunar modules, the Mars rovers, the current knowledge of our solar system's planets but my mind was processing none of it. There were so many words on the posters! The whole affair put me in a bad mood and retreated to the McDonald's to get food.

Models of Opportunity and Curiosity, two of our Mars rovers! 
Normally, I don't jump for McDonald's but a bad mood presents a familiar challenge. Being in one threatens the quality of everything you do and we all have to develop different strategies to circumvent them. Food and rest often help so I sought them out in the cafeteria. I even indulged in an ice cream to sort of coax my better side into the open. After sitting down for an hour, I resumed pacing the hallowed halls of human space artifacts. It really is an amazing thought that we can be so small, trivial even. I remember the first time I discovered for myself the idea that we are small and the humility and empathy that brings. We are deeply flawed, imperfect beings whirling about a universe that engulfs our small dramas in the whirligig drama of all that moves in existence, galaxies and blackholes and stars growing, expanding, colliding. And here we are barely exploring our own backyard with our fragile vehicles and robots. Someday we will expand into space. And maybe our wiser progeny will look back on us and wonder how we ever managed without the gifts and advantages they have. I think I would give a great deal for the privilege of beholding our home in a single glance. Astronauts report "the overview effect," a feeling of immense love for humanity and of understanding where we fit in in the universe just by seeing the Earth from above. It must be what we are after when we travel, that perspective that knits together the disparate and alien lands so different--and yet similar in the most important ways--to home.

Ooooh, Shiny...
One of the original backup Lunar Modules that never had to be used. 
It was the best I could do at the museum in my current state. I decided it was time to return to Shelley's and Steve's. For the first time I realized it takes almost an hour to get back to Silver Springs. In a last ditch gambit to preserve my mood, I stopped at the first Safeway I've been to since California   and picked up kale, oranges, Doritos, hummus, good morale food all of it. In the kitchen, I cooked up the kale with onions and garlic. Shelley tossed in some walnuts and raisins which really upped the quality of my vitamin green feast. It was a pleasant moment talking and being present with Shelley. There are some people who are so smart and knowledgable you learn just by being around them and listening.

1 comment:

  1. Sam, I love that you are so diligent about eating healthfully. But what I really love is that you're also down for tossing a bag of Doritos into that mix! Sometimes a wee bit of junk food is just what the Dr. ordered! The snack-ish equivalent of an apple a day...