On Line Friends…

One of life’s simple, sweet pleasures for me is when we gt to see how very much alike we really all are. Last night I took my kids at 10pm to go to a planetarium to see Mars through a telescope with a 36 inch mirror. When we arrived the line was not too long. There I was with my two kids whom I teach as much astronomy as I can hoping one of them wiill one day be a great astronomer so I can live vicariously through them. (I was a physics major for 2 1/2 years before switching my degree to fine arts-yeah, that made daddy REALLY happy!) In front of me is a man with his two sons. We begin the friendly chit chat that strangers stuck on line do, making jokes about how this is educational for the kids but we both know we are really here for us. We then talk for the next 45 minutes getting to know each other as much as two strangers can while intermittedly picking up kids, putting down kids, telling kids that it is not much longer, breaking up fights and explaining that no, we will not die of thirst or heat on this line. We finally snake our way to the telescope, see Mars closer to the Earth right now than in all of recorded history and never to be this close again in our life time. It was magnificent – you could see the polar ice caps! And after this once in a life time event we simply turn to this stranger we just met with the same interests and say, “Nice talking to you, have a great rest of your weekend!” I love that. People being friendly because deep down we all really just want to be nice and have people be nice to us. At least that is how it works in my head – and I like it like that.

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