“As usual, I’m working with stuff that was deliberately designed not to burn. But no amount of careful design by NASA can get around a determined arsonist with a tank of pure oxygen.”
― Andy Weir, The Martian
The [one] voice in my head: “Have you had this feeling before as well? You open your eyes, one eye, actually, barely, just a tiny little bit, slowly, a slit only wide enough to let a few beams of light fall onto your iris, trying to focus on the blurry shapes at the wall next to you, your breath going slowly, very slowly, the view getting sharper, colorful blurs morphing into more and more sharply cut shapes, lines actually, dark black lines drawn with a big pen on a white wall, neatly aligned, in blocks of 4 verticals with a diagonal line crossing above. Your mind slowly remembers: your counting. Counting the days there. Counting how much longer it will last. You’re weak. Any energy left has gone already. Days ago. Left your body through every pore. Fleeing. Escaping. Draining one drop after the other into the mattress on which you lie and onto the floor where it is forming a little puddle in the meantime. To remember you how weak you can be. In moments like this. Powerless. Tired. The sun barely has left her zenith, fires sunbeams and sunburn down at you. Merciless. But you lie there. Helpless. Motionless. Surrendering to your fate. Too exhausted to escape the Maverick-like wave that came after you, trying to crush you onto the beach, flipping you over and whirling you around under water. Too exhausted to keep the guy strapped to you with the parachute from throwing you out of the little airplane. Kicking you out with a yell into the void underneath you and into the roaring wind that hits your ears once you start feeling the drag of gravity pulling at you, accelerating you for a few seconds that feel like eternity towards the vast hard plain below that threatens to swallow you. Just like a sugar cube irrevocably disappears in the black of a cup of coffee. Just that it would hurt more if there wasn’t the sudden pull up of the parachute as it opens. Too weak to even follow with your eyes the yellow little ball that cuts through the air with a hissing sound and hits the white line dissecting the desert red ash into neat rectangular segments, hits this line exactly in the middle before you can even consider to throw yourself or your racket into its direction, trying to revert its flight back to where it came from. Too weak to even hit the break as you speed down the hill on the bike, the wind around your head, your hair styling gone, tears in your eyes and flies in your mouth. Too exhausted even to carry your Macbook Air over to the shady area under the palm tree, or open it, or log on and see what turf wars are going on in your corporate email inbox. Simply too lazy. So you put all your will together, all your strength remaining, all your former determination or what’s left of it. All the experience gained over the years on how to overcome desperate situations and you try to grab it, lean over hard to one side, reach over to the Virgin Margharita next to you. And finally, with a content smile on your face which is as wide that it could teach humbleness to a 50’s Cadillac Eldorado radiator grille, you get hold of it and take a deep, long sip… Ahhhh…”
The other voice in my head: “Björn, stop day-dreaming and being pathetic again. It’s called “vacation”. Can you make yourself useful and hand me the sun lotion, please? …”
A while ago, I got sick of standing in line for the rental car pickup at the San Francisco airport and got myself the long overdue – admittedly – Gold membership of my preferred rental car company. Not something you have to go round the globe 4 times first. Simply sign up, tell them all your family secrets and file three certificated copies of your medical record with them, but then you immediately get it: your membership card. And from then on, when you arrive with your flight at the airport, an email awaits you to tell you where your rental car is waiting for you: brand, model, stall, license plate. Key inside. Just walk there and off you go. Nice! Life can be a pleasure at times.
Plus, as a good citizen who revealed all of his personal life to get a free membership card, I got an upgrade voucher for my next car rental with them. So I signed up for the upgrade and boosted my corporate standard economy class Kia Rio up to a compact Ford Fiesta. Boy, this was the best upgrade ever that I got. You won’t believe it. Take a look as I got into the city with the Ford via Bay Bridge and went up to Twin Peaks…
[DC Shoes: Ken Block’s Gymkhana Five: Ultimate Urban Playground; San Francisco]
… push you to the limit. Then, as you approach the peak — can’t go any further — they push you away, throw you down, let you drop, tumbling into the void, watch you falling 150.000 feet to the ground. Down it goes, there’s no escape, until you finally splash into the cold water and they test you whether you can actually swim…
Sounds familiar? Really? So you are a Solid Rocket Booster, too? Or have been one in one of your former lives?😉
Humans, attention please: take 10 minutes of your time, put your best headset on and focus listening to the sounds…
One of the first photos of Earth from the first man in space. Taken by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin during his orbital flight in April, 1961.
Breath-taking! Imagine being Yuri sitting in his tiny capsule, surrounded by 60s’ technology and life support systems, shooting through the vacuum as the first man in space and looking down at the blue marble below against a black void all around. The first hopeful step of mankind into space. But at the same time leaving no doubt we won’t get significantly farther any time soon…
Except, perhaps, in our imagination…
Image Credit: NASA
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