Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Outer space ...

I'm just about to go pick up lunch from this place down the street formerly known as the Italian Village -- two Spicy Hot sandwiches -- when I see that Chuck is watching some sort of breaking news on TV. It's our fourth day of vacation.

"What is this?" I ask. 
Sometimes I completely miss stuff. That whole thing with Mars earlier this year. I had no idea until it was happening and even though it was happening in real time, my lack of advance knowledge made it seem like I was already too far behind to step in and enjoy it. I suppose this is because I'm so infrequently on Twitter. 
"This guy is going to sky dive from outer space," Chuck tells me. 
"No," I say. I don't know a ton about outer space, I never like made a solar system mobile out of hot glue, pipe cleaners and glowing styrofoam balls. But I know that skydiving from outer space seems dangerous and I imagine a body in a fiery free fall that is faster than a futuristic bullet train. 
"Is he a thrill seeker or an astronaut?" I ask. Not that they are necessarily mutually exclusive. 
"He's a skydiver," Chuck tells me. 

I can't leave here now. There's a big metallic air balloon and Hollywood blockbuster-esque footage from a mission control center. It feels like science fiction that this sort of thing could just happen on a Tuesday and I wouldn't know about it. Like maybe on another channel someone is modifying genes to make all belches smell like freesia and a few clicks from that a celebrity pastry chef is making the world's biggest birthday cake -- a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge made from an unappetizing shade of blue-grey fondant. The world is just going so fast. I used to stare at the laser on my CD player and marvel at how it turned invisible information into "Bigmouth Strikes Again." 

"I can't leave now," I say, purse slung over my body and shoes snug on my feet. 
"He hasn't even left the ground yet," Chuck says. "You have time. If anything happens while you're gone I'll record it."  
How long does it take a skydiver to get from the ground to outer space. And where is outer space anyway? Is there just an invisible line in the sky: Now you're in inner space, now you're in outer space. Like that time I stood on what I assumed was the division between Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. 

I leave the house, but reluctantly. 

Here's a confession: At least every few weeks one of my Facebook friends rants about people who wear pajama pants in public, which is especially popular here, and they make such a convincing argument that I'm all fist-in-the-air-YEAH!-down-with-pajama-pants-in-public. Except it's not really my cause. I don't really care. And, in fact, faced with changing into jeans, going to this deli, coming home and putting my pajama pants back on, I decide to eliminate the middle man. I mean, come on. Aside from the 20-30 Facebook friends who regularly mention this breach of social conduct, who really cares if I wear my pajama pants to this deli? 

This place smells terrific. It smells like an Italian diner and it's warm and there is Italian music and there is all this stuff to look at while they make our sandwiches. Flavors of San Pellegrino, hard candies in the flavor of various liqueurs, biscotti, sausages and cheeses and olives. I know the owner. Both of our Pioneer Bar-regular phases intersected. In fact, I know he met his wife when she was working there. Now they have school-aged twins. This makes it seem like I've known them for a lifetime. 

I go home with two sandwiches and some San Pellegrino and when I walk in Chuck's not even watching the science experiment anymore. In fact, he doesn't mention it. 

"What happened?" I ask. 
"With the skydiver?" 
"Oh, they postponed it because of the wind," he says. "Did you know he was going to break the sound barrier?" 
"My god." 

Now, with no science to watch and all this Italian sandwich to eat, we get hijacked by "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," one time the preferred movie of, well, apparently both of us. It's so strange how deeply embedded some of these lines are. Like, in a pinch, I could totally be the understudy for Bill S. Preston, Esquire or Ted Theodore Logan. We both could. 

This movie has aged like fine wine. And, according to the internet, a third movie is scheduled for release next year.

We chase "Bill & Ted" with 12 hours of "Northern Exposure." Pizza is ordered. I finish a novel that I hate so much that finishing it feels like loosening a belt after Thanksgiving dinner. I start another one.

This goes on all day and more than once I tell Chuck that this is the best day of vacation yet. I never do change out of my pajama pants.


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