I was going to skip today. I’m tired. But being (arguably) the most empathetic person on Earth not named either Malala or Pope Francis, I simply cannot help but feel the anguish of millions and millions of Americans who are too embarrassed to tell their neighbors and Facebook followers that, even though they tried as hard as anyone else, they just couldn’t come away from the eclipse with anything remotely resembling the overwhelming sense of “gollyness” at the mystery and magic of the universe that seems to have swept so many of their fellow citizens off to Awesomeville.
In fact, it is rumored that there were people packing up to leave Weiser Monday afternoon who were over-heard to say … loosely … “I drove two days, all the way from Stockton, watched gas prices climb like a thermometer in a microwave the closer I got to this burg, paid fourteen bucks for a package of baloney and a loaf of Wonder Bread because I didn’t bring enough money to buy hot food, had to sleep under my car for three nights because if I’d rented a motel room, my kids would have to give up any idea of ever going to college, and from six A.M. until noon stood in a field so crowded with 20,000 drunks that I couldn’t find room to set up my folding chair … for that!”
I feel your pain. All I can offer in consolation is an arcane bit of inter-planetary trivia to consider until your credit card bills are paid off: Once a day, every day—unless you live in Nome and points north, or Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station—a celestial body moves between us and our sun, totally blocking out the light and making the world around us resemble night-time. Whenever this solar-systemic phenomenon occurs, birds have been known to go to roost. street lights come on, and cows to lie down in their pastures and drift off into sleep. This miracle of gravitational mechanics lasts, on average, 12 hours (rather than the two minutes of the recent event) and can be seen from your home—without special glasses, and for free.
If this doesn’t make you feel better about being under-whelmed with the “Once-In-A-Lifetime Great American Eclipse,” you can try it again in seven years, when another eclipse path crosses several states.
Or, you can go to another country for the transcendental experience you got gypped out of Monday, as a total solar eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth every 18 months, give or take. Remember to take your glasses, as they may be hard to come by in Tajikistan or the middle of the Indian Ocean.