A Little Light-Headed and Giggly, But Nothing I Can’t Sleep Off
Boy-child’s class had a field trip to a planetarium this morning and, because I’m a ‘cool mom’, I took time off work and went along.
Before school started, I was ‘adopted’ by one of Boy-child’s friends, a chatty girl-beauty whom all the boys were pushing and teasing in that I secretly love you way.
“I hate boys!” she squealed, and grabbed my hand. “Can I hang out with you? These boys…maaan!”
How could I say no to that?
She told me her name was Alli, short for Allison, and when I dubbed her ‘Queen Allison the Great”, she was my friend for life.
Boy-child, ever in touch with his feminine side, thought this was an excellent idea, and held my other hand. So we were three.
We stayed in triplicate throughout the morning, side by side in the planetarium seats. Our docent spoke in a calming, yet excited voice, and bid us look up, waaaaay up, at the curved ceiling, as it went from white, to blue, to red, to green, to black sky and sparkling heavens.
We dizzied through the sweep of planets, squealed in "polite freak-out-ed-ness" when the lights dimmed alltheway, to make 'absolute dark' in the huge domed room. We ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ at the rotation of stars around our half-circle of sky, at the magnified photos of the Milky Way and the Seven Sisters and Mars, at the constellation myth stories of Cassiopeia and her family, and of Orion and his dogs, and the bull that he fought, and the Bears Major and Minor, and of our friend, the North Star.
At the end, after Q&A, a few of the well-seasoned kids begged for their favorite planetarium experiences…”Show us the Black Hole!”, “Let us ride the rollercoaster…please!”
The docent was a very fine fellow indeed, full of humour and facts, young enough so the kids listened, old enough so we grownups trusted him.
“Okay”, the docent said, “We’ll ride the mobius first.”
Any of you who remembers geometry probably made a mobius strip…take a long strip of paper, give it a half twist, and tape the ends together...you will have a surface with no end.
The dome darkened, and a mobius appeared most ghost-like, studded at the center with bright lights. The camera swung us on top, and we began our descent down, down, downreallyfast, DOWNOHMYGODFAST!, around…gah!...up and twist and our bellies fell to our toes as…YEAH!...we increased speed and whipped around and up and our throats squeezed out explosive laughs and there was much gasping for air, even though we were perfectly still, sturdily seated, our poor brains had been taunted and confused and the docent shouted out, “If you think you’re gonna throw up, just close your eyes,” and BY GUM IT WORKED, and the ride continued, slowed, slowed more, and before it stopped, it disappeared in a puff of night sky.
“Now the black hole!”, the docent exclaimed, mad-scientist-like, his fingers whipping around the computer screen.
A grid appeared, out of Tron, or that Simpsons episode where Homer gets sucked into a black hole, and the center spun around like a disembodied tornado, and we were pulled into it, slowly, and our spines stiffened as we realized we wouldn’t escape, we COULDN’T escape, the grid walls closing in, the eye of the black hole rushing towards us fasterandfaster and we didn’t reach it didn’t reach it didn’t reach it and then the center of the black hole and…BOOM!!!! Total. Utter. Dark. We gasped in unison, even Mrs. D, the teacher, who sat behind me. Gasp! (hold) Exhale!
“WOW!!! Let’s do that AGAIN!”, the kids yelled.
But the docent, ever mindful of the time, bid us adieu and led us through the hallway, through the lobby, past the gift shop, and out the door, and we waved goodbye and ‘thanks’, and we stared at his lab coat sparkling with glowing constellations.
Boy-child, Queen Allison the Great, and I squeezed into a bus seat and sat exhausted, silent, grinning distractedly, all the way back to school.
We were trippin’, all right.
Have a good weekend, y’all!