Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Space: It's there and we're going to Climb it

This is my entry in Andy Field's excellent Space Project called (you guessed it) "Space: It's there and we're going to climb it" for the Forest Fringe. He has assigned every single space mission to someone over the festival and is compiling the work he gets to present this afternoon at our ending party.

Video clip from Bling-Central's blog:

My Mission - STS 41-D

Weirdly enough, as a youngster I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. I was a precocious kid (I know, you're not surprised) and I also took most of my life advice from a popular and horrible television series called "Full House." When the music would start getting a little bit emotional, everybody's second favourite sitcom neighbour, orange lipstick wearing Kimmy Gibler would go home, and Danny would sit down in Stefanie and DJ's room and explain the what's what to them about life. I don't remember most of these life lessons, except for one that stuck with me. A wee monologue where Joey (Famous for the paper rock scissors catchphrase "Cut It Out" and, according to Alanis Morisette, for being gone down on in a theatre) explained the moment he knew as a child what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He said he'd heard his grandfather tell a joke, I think, and he thought, I want to be a Comedian. Okay, so as reverently as I treated this show and it's advice as a child, I thought that kind of drama would happen everywhere. And I was waiting with bated breath for the moment that I would know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The moment came - I was at my cottage in Ontario, looking up at the stars, awe struck, we are so small I thought, how is this even possible, look at All of those dots! And I thought Space. There is nothing else. Nothing else is important but Space. I want to explore space. Not to actually go into space, but to help space happen. (As though it couldn't exist without me.) So I asked my parents what the names of the people who designed rocket ships were (because I was a good little drawer as a child) and they told me "Aerospace Engineer." I committed the term to memory the same way I'd committed the only words I knew in my mom's native language of Hungarian to memory, and every time someone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I wouldn't bat an eyelid when they raised their brow, impressed, that I said "Aerospace Engineer." This was a job I took to school with me. I thought I'd just go through the motions until I'd graduate and then finally, easily, take up my post at NASA and start drawing those rocket ships. Of course at 7 my ideas of rocket ships were as ambitious and impractical as my misplaced belief that I'd ever design them. For example, I was CONVINCED that I could take all my brother's lego and build a lifesize rocket ship in our backyard that would actually work. I heard later on that someone in the back gardens of United States was trying the same thing from a slightly (only slightly) less difficult material than lego. But magic was everywhere, and especially in rocket ships. I didn't know the secrets yet, but one day I would.

I think it was around grade three that I started to realize that I wasn't very good at Math. My teacher bought me a sketchbook, and when I told the class what I wanted to be she seemed skeptical instead of impressed. Maybe I should stick to drawing Lego spaceships instead of real ones. The rocket wouldn't sail through space simply because I willed it so, and equally, there was no magic trick to memorizing my multiplication tables. For some reason I thought my brain would decipher times tables psychically but it just didn't. I would guess numbers at random on tests with the confidence of Good Will Hunting and always, Always expect to be right exactly before the moment I was proved wrong. So bit by bit, the magic of space became a science, and NASA lost any possibility of its worst ever (though Maverick Visionary) Aerospace Engineer who worked entirely in Lego.

I did have a moment, Let's call it a desperate moment, in the middle of my nondescript humanities degree where I wondered, sitting in the over decorated rainforest cafe with my friend Carolyn, whether or not I should go back to High School, start over, concentrate really hard, and become an Aerospace Engineer. We talked about how I'd do it, and for a moment we both seemed to believe in the magic of the plan, Maybe it was destiny, meant to be, I could look at the infinite tests more difficult than I would ever be able to handle and by magic, the job would come to me, but the Rainforest Cafe is not the place to change your life, and numbers never just come to you. Space is there, infinite, magical, but a blog entry is about as close as I'll ever come to climbing it. And if the rocket ship isn't made out of lego, I'm not interested.


Baudrillard the Bird (Dove) said...

that's not the rainforest cafe in yorkdale, is it pearson?

Miss Pearson said...

Indeed, I hazard to admit, it is, Miss Duffy. Oh Gawd, what a time that was.