Small blue thing

21 07 2015

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NASA/DSCOVER satellite

I’ve always said that, if given the chance, I’d jump to hitch a ride on the space shuttle. To go into space!—how could I not?

(Presuming, that is, that I were physically capable of doing so. And that the trip lasted days rather than months: I can control my claustrophobia 0nly so long.)

But while I certainly would want to peer out, to see what I couldn’t see from the ground, I’d bet that I’d probably spend even more time gazing on our small blue world.

You know that old T-Bone Burnett tune, Humans from Earth? It’s actually a nasty little tune about otherworldly colonization, but that title has always stuck with me: this is where we started, as humans, and this is where we live, as humans. We might someday figure out how to be human outside of low Earth orbit, but everything about us, thus far, is grounded in experience living on this astonishing spinning ball of rock and water.

I didn’t always feel this way about Earth, tended to take it for granted. But at some point in my studies of genetics (and with a nudge from Ms. Arendt) I began to take seriously that we were worldly creatures, in the sense that we are shaped by our conditions, the most basic of which is that we are born, live, and  die on this planet.

There’s a scene from a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Defector”, in which said defector, a Romulan, is taken to the holodeck in order to “visit” his home planet. At first he delights in the sights, but then he rejects the illusion: this was not home.

Earth is home, to me. I understand, as someone who left her hometown and home state, that where one is from does not have to dictate where one goes; thus, I begrudge no one who might want to make a one-way trip to Mars, or beyond.

One constant of humans from the very beginning of us is that some of stay, and some of us go. So, by all means, some of us should go.

I’ll be waving from the ground.





Je regrette rien

11 06 2012

I do not regret quitting the part-time admin position.

You know, the one that stressed me, that C. urged me to leave, the one for which it was a terrible time to leave, the one for which I gave a month’s notice of my leaving, the one, finally, I left?

That one.

I was still feeling a little bad as the job petered out by the end of May, and didn’t much think of it the beginning of June (starting summer research position, starting teaching), but this past weekend, I thought, Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh.

It was just. . . nice not to have to worry about the job, to feel that space in my head and my chest and just be able to breathe.

It’s not that there’s no stress in my current two jobs (well, okay, the research position is damn well near stress-free: the only tough part of that job is hauling my ass outta bed at 7:20 am, or whenever Soterios Johnson chimes in with the local headlines and weather), but it’s just regular.

No drama, no nooses, no vice grips: just the ordinary mix of crap and boredom and inquiry and provocation and restlessness and swearing and laughs.

Given my initial trepidation over leaving what could have been a long-term job, I’da thought I might just rethink my ducking out after having ducked out. Nope.

I may finally be learning to own up to my regrets—but this ain’t one of ’em.





Television man, I know you’re tryin’ to be

18 10 2009

I finally did it: I got rid of my t.v.

I’d been going back and forth on this decision ever since I moved in January. I didn’t have access to my t.v. at my previous apartment, but in my new space, well, I’d see what I could get with just an antennae.

Bupkis, is what I could get.

So I didn’t watch it, but I kept it around, thinking that maybe I’ll join Netflix and watch some movies. But I never got around to doing that, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to shell out the 100 bucks for a Roku box anyway, and then my DVD player decided everything looked better in black and white. . . and this big lump of plastic, wire, and various toxic material didn’t seem to be worth it.

What really tipped me over, however, were my ongoing and heretofore unsuccessful attempts to transform my main space into a way that, mmm, flowed. It didn’t flow, and moving around chairs and shelves and the t.v. just didn’t cut it.

But: If I got rid of the t.v., I could move this over there and that over here and voila! flow!

So that’s what I did. I put the t.v. (with its remote, instructions, and original box, of course) in the hall, posted a few signs in my building that a free working t.v. was available for the taking and voila! taken!

Please note that I am not proffering any sort of anti-television purity. I greatly enjoyed watching trashy cable shows with my old roommate P., and were I not so cheap, I might have sprung for cable on my own. But it’s also true that I watched very little first-run t.v., far more often plunking myself down in front of the tube for a marathon of Law & Orders or CSIs, or watching Independence Day (i.e., Doritos-on-film) for the eleventy millionth time. After my initial withdrawal symptoms passed, I realized that I really could live without t.v.

Especially when there’s Hulu. . . .