Klutzing at the Moon

In 1636, a ship of intrepid English women and men arrived to the new colony in America and the first thought that coursed through their brains was wow, it smells a lot better out here. Those were some of my ancestors, and thinking about it now, I can see why my lot are stubborn and make foolish decisions. At least from that side of the family.

Two years after setting foot on a new continent, as autumn sounded its last gasps and the days shortened to a quick, the moon went away. Who knows how this was explained among them? Gallileo sat back in Europe, under arrest. Yes, that Gallileo. A modern millennium eventually rolled around, and the eclipse/solstice collision was reenacted for another generation, one raised on fearmongering in the news and among their political appointees. But fortunately for us, we have very short attention spans, so it will take more than a red globe in the night sky to freak us out for more than, oh, six minutes, or roughly the amount of time it takes for our neck to cramp up as we stare upward.

For my part, I was excited. Maybe it was the journeyman in me, or maybe all the posts on Twitter and Facebook  riled up my curiosity, but I checked the NASA site, the ever-present cloud cover for Seattle on Weather.com, and then threw on my sweatshirt. I figured I’d need to hike up the hill to the ridge near the east side of Lake Union to see it properly, but two feet outside the main door of our apartment building, there it was, like a dime under tissue paper. It was in full form, so I checked my watch and realized I was shivering hard. I ducked back inside.

Susanne was typing on her laptop, preparing an article of hers for submission to a journal. “Has it started yet,” she asked me. I shook my head, which in the midst of all my other shaking, might not have had the angle of direction I’d intended, but she got the point all the same.

Fifteen minutes later I went back outside, this time with the inclusion of a hat. I know, I should have procured a thicker coat than my oh so Seattle sweatshirt, but first I must explain the process of getting my wool coat. It is at the back of a long closet, next to our front door, that extends all the way to the wall of our bedroom. To make up for incredible depth, the likes of which are seldom seen in hallway closets, it is almost impossibly narrow, approaching an unraveling of the laws of physics. I am certain Issac Asimov would agree with me if he could. So because I don’t have my own personal Inspector Gadget or Plastic Man (I wonder if they would have gotten along), I am left to my own devices. This means I must reach past the Costco bag of bathroom tissue, the Swiffer, another sweatshirt that can’t seem to make it to the hangers at the back, and whatever else resides in the front wave of items.

After this, reaching must also proceed past the thick wedge of cardboard boxes we unpacked when we moved here six months ago, and as a person who has had the lion’s share of paper cuts from jagged cardboard, I am loathe to receive any more. But if an adventurous soul can survive even this crucible of pain, they will be rewarded with the warm scratchiness of a woolen coat. Yet just as it is within fingertip reach, the hanger finds a way to entrap its outerwear prisoner, and the explorer, who has come so very far, now must shake and rattle the coat in a desperate final battle—some could say it was a boss level—against world-destroying beige plastic.

It just didn’t seem worth it for venturing five feet from the building, especially as getting the coat back on the hanger is even harder. So I left again, with my nod toward another layer in the form of long scarf and wool hat. This gave me something like 28 more seconds of warmth before the shivering began, minus the extra chill effect because it had started raining. In 17 seconds my teeth were chattering, but it was worth it because OMG THERE’S THE ECLIPSE! SUSANNE! COME AND SEE! OUCH OUCH OUCH!!!

I’d walked to our living room window, knowing Susanne was just the other side of it, in the light and the warm. Apparently, worse than cardboard boxes are wintertime rose bushes. In my attempt to knock on our window, I’d walked right into one of these, the thorns happy to have a stupid person to cut into.

“Honey, I’m right here,” she said from behind the now bleeding me, and she was all bundled up in her layered, waterproof coat, like a smart Canadian. My people didn’t figure out going to Canada until 150 years after they landed in the American colonies, so no wonder I was out in late December, near midnight, with jeans and a sweatshirt and a crappy scarf from Old Navy. We huddled together and watched the moon disappear, and I became acutely aware that all of us are on the same rock hurtling through space. From 1638 to 2010 and blinks of time and all that.

I kissed her on her cheek, not just because it was warm.

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3 Comments on “Klutzing at the Moon”

  1. December 21, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    A die-hard Romantic! And as those of us who engage in the folly of romanticism know, it can be bloody sometimes, a little bit anyway 🙂

    • evmaroon
      December 21, 2010 at 11:55 am #

      It’s all worth it, right?

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