Out of time: Watches and Satellites
“Just sit in a closet until it’s over,” a friend advises. ”Oh?” I respond. “And exactly which closet do you want remodeled?”
It’s the bus-size satellite crashing towards earth.
No one wants to stand next to me for a couple of days.
It’s always been this way. Baseballs. Basketballs. Golf balls. Tennis balls. Arrows let fly during archery class. Sticks thrown for dog retrieval. Acorns off trees. It’s inevitable. Everyone knows. If it’s in the air, it’s headed directly for me. Bound to be some cosmic joke. I’m ground zero for incoming flying objects. Yep, I’ve even dodged bowling balls that somehow were released backhanded by mistake during that careful one, two, three step approach down the alley. (See related post:”It’s baseball – not dodgeball“)
Everyone laughs about it at first. “It must be your magnetic personality!” they exclaim wittily. I smile as if I haven’t heard that before. “Maybe you’ve taken too many iron supplements?” Oh, such giggles.
Whatever it is must also be the reason that I cannot wear watches.
Some watches last a few weeks, some just a few hours. Not because of being dropped, soaked in water, or knocked into something hard. They just stop. It was like they all had a death wish or considered being wrapped around my wrist sheer suicide. I am serial watch killer.
For years I had them repaired. Frequently. Various jewelers/watch repair shops struggled to resurrect various crippled watches: expensive ones, cheap ones, big ones, small ones, wild London Mod ones, rugged sports watches, even children’s watches. Surely one watch warrior would survive? Nope.
After a while, certain watch repairmen would hide in the back of their shops when they saw me approaching.
Except one dear old man next to the Jewish delicatessen. Old World-ish, slight in build, and always in a white shirt with sleeves rolled up, he never scolded me for bringing in a silent watch. He seemed to take it as a challenge – a reflection of his skill. But even he finally said, “Some people just can’t wear watches. Maybe, you move too fast. Or there’s too much electricity created by your body. Or there’s too much magnetism in your blood. But you just can’t wear watches. Have you considered a pocket watch?” And, actually, that was a solution until smart phones. Now who needs a timepiece?
All those old watches languish in drawers: timeless, but out of time.
Guess that NASA Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is almost out of time, too.
Tired and rushing towards home, is it aware no homecoming celebration awaits – only a flaming funeral as gravity jerks it down? The experts don’t know where it’s going, but there’s a Satellite Tracking Map showing the satellite’s path as it travels over places you will recognize. (‘Round and ’round it goes. Where it stops, nobody knows!) Or be mesmerized by the real-time flight across the more general NASA global map. Apparently, it may land just about anywhere, although the odds of getting hit are about 1 in 21 trillion. Still nervous? Watch an astronomer talk about getting hit by space junk on this video . It will calm your fears….unless you are magnetic me or Lottie Williams.
Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma, got hit by a small piece of a Delta II rocket that fell from the sky in 1997. NASA says she’s the only person to ever get hit by space junk. I’d like to meet her. I want to know if she has trouble wearing watches or if she always gets hit playing dodgeball or baseball.
Meanwhile, I’m getting out my binoculars, and hard hat. Going to carefully position my lawn chair in the backyard.
Searching the skies,
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.