A friend of mine who has a telescope about as big as my car has been reminding me to go outside just after dusk and look up for the International Space Station. With my eyes.
Apparently the ISS is orbiting over Sydney right now.
‘You won’t believe how bright it is,’ he said.
He was right. I went out the front to get the best view NW a couple of minutes before he said it would be visible and it was visible already! A bright light on the horizon. I rushed back to get Wallington to share the astonishment.
‘Wait until I put some shoes on,’ she said, knocking the TV remote onto the floor. She’s so terrestrial.
‘I can’t stop the Space Station!’ I yelled.
Neighbours were baffled at their dinner tables.
‘Don’t worry about shoes. You don’t need shoes in space. Come now. It’s incredible.’
Neighbours discreetly locked their front doors.
I would have offered to piggyback Wallington but I was holding a glass of red wine. I find the universe is more accessible with a glass of red. More fascinating. A bit like Earth is.
‘I’ve got to find my glasses,’ Wallington shouted from inside the gloom. FFS.
‘I can’t stop the Space Station,’ I yelled again as if I was driving it. We were having a shout-out-loud argument about a space station 300 000 kilometres away. And passing rapidly.
Wallington appeared in shoes and glasses and we strode to the dead end of our street and marvelled at the very bright light of the ISS.
‘Incredible,’ Wallington said. ‘What does it do?’
‘It goes around and around the Earth, and there are Russians on it,’ I said, not very scientifically.
‘Even after what happened in Ukraine?’
‘They probably won’t get another go,’ I admitted.
As the bright light got more directly overhead we could make out its wings. And its tail. It was a QANTAS flight. It was very high up and space stationey but suddenly much less impressive. We stood in tandem disappointment.
I swigged at my red. ‘Is an aeroplane any less impressive than a space station?’ I wondered philosophically.
‘Yes,’ said Wallington. ‘I’m going back inside.’
‘Is the constant crash of waves on a beach more impressive than the constant roar of traffic?’
‘Yes,’ she called back.
I stood out in the street barefoot and alone and looked at the big moon.
I think it was the moon…