austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Won't you tell him please to put on some speed

And now for a footnote about my parents' ten-day cruise out to nowhere in particular except that it was warmer there. It turns out the afternoon they got back, they got a phone call from the neighbor across the street. My parents live in a retirement community, and while there are often fine times where people get together and hang out and watch the golfers badly missing the greens, there are also long stretches of time where people just disappear since, after all, they're retired and can go on long cruises or spend six months in Florida or what have you.

Anyway, she noticed over the course of the vacation that my parents' cars didn't move. Each day there was Mom's car on the left, Dad's on the right. Obviously she wasn't watching compulsively, since I took Dad's car out for a couple hours each day. But with just the two spots in the driveway there was really only one way for me to park. (I couldn't take Mom's car since it's a stick shift, and I only know automatic. I've never learned how to drive stick, unless you count the old riding lawn mower, which Mom doesn't, and she's been historically unenthusiastic about me learning on her BMW. I know the theory of stick shift, at least.) And since both Dad and I prefer to park in reverse, so that we can actually see where we're going when we pull out of the driveway, the difference between Dad's car after I've used it and Dad's car before I've used it would be noticeable only to the most careful observers.

But after nearly a week and a half of not noticing any change in the cars, she finally called up Mom to ask if they were all right. They were -- cruise ships are less stressful at the beginnings and ends of vacation than airport are, for one thing -- and were glad to be checked on. And now we have the useful data point that if they do someday die together, it'll be at most ten days before someone finds them. We'll have to work out something for the cats to eat. They might have been checked on earlier, but the neighbors on the left and on the right are in Florida for the winter.

Trivia: The assignment of Francis R Scobe, Michael J Smith, Ellison S Onizuka, Judith A Resnik, and Ronald E McNair to flight STS 51-L was announced by NASA on 27 January 1985. S Christa McAuliffe was assigned in July 1985 and Gregory B Jarvis in October 1985. Source: Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, Willian P Rogers, Chair.

Currently Reading: 1776, David McCullough.


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