Hope is a waking dream . ——Aristotle
I have planned for months to take a trip up north to view the upcoming total solar eclipse that will cross the continent . I have a sister who lives in Coos Bay , Oregon , and my plan was to stay with her . The eclipse begins to cross the continent at Lincoln City , I heard , a beach town just a few miles north of Coos Bay . I’ve been looking forward for months now to this unique event .
All of this , I have been thinking , would be in September , when the eclipse would happen . Imagine my surprise last week when I read that the eclipse wasn’t going to happen in September . I suppose the rest of the universe already knew this . But not me . August ? August .
The trouble is that I am in Poland and our return flight to USA is scheduled for —– let’s see…………. , oh ! , Total Eclipse Day . Yeah , we will be in the air on August 21 . I hope that the pilot knows what s/he’s doing when the sky goes dark . Does s/he have to be wearing special dark glasses ? Don’t ask me ; I didn’t even know when the eclipse was coming .
Sometimes I get something stuck in the nether recesses of my mind and it’s stuck in there way too long , even when it’s hopelessly unbased in fact .
I think that a certain friend of mine , months ago , told me that the eclipse was coming September 21 . I remember that moment . We were having a burger at a place called Hook . Not that I’m passing the buck and blaming him because I’m not , but I think that that misstatement months ago was the start of my stuck-in-the-mud misdirection and subsequent stubborn confusion .
The thing that worries me most about this is that my brain is probably full of this kind of misinformation . I am fully aware that much of what I think is real is real only for me and that other people see the world differently . I guess that’s life and the reality of individual realities . Had I paid more attention in philosophy class in college I might be better able to explain this stuff . Meanwhile , I just mention it as one of the doubts I would have if I were one to ponder the intricacies of life in such a manner .
Luckily , I tend not to ruminate on such matters in such a manner if I can help it . ( I can almost hear Ada right now and other people who know me saying : ” Duh!” in a loud chorus . Even my plumber made a mildly censorious comment [ if there is such a thing ] about the placement of a new toilet — but I won’t go into that right now .). I think you’ll only drive yourself crazy to contemplate deeply serious aspects of life too often or too seriously . I think Kant said that . Maybe it was Rod McKeun , though . Socrates ? Mark Twain ?
Okay , forget it .
Oh , I’m not saying that I’m right . My apologies to you intellectuals out there , to you philosophers , to you diligent and thoughtful monks discussing issues such as how many angels will fit comfortably on the head of a pin . (My Jesuit high school teachers would already be asking, I suspect : What are the parameters of the pin ? The philosophy lecturer at UCLA would be asking : How do we even know the pin is actually there ? ) But , well , we all have a right to our own perceptions and misperceptions . Or , maybe we don’t . There must be a class out there , perhaps on-line : Philosophical Foundations of the Morality of Perception . (But , I’m not going to sign up for it .)
But , you may have noticed , philosophers don’t run the world ( as far as I can tell ) . Angels , as I understand the abstraction , don’t run the world either . But these superficial observations are neither here nor there for our purposes today . So let’s move on .
I kind of wish that I had paid more attention to the actual date of this total solar eclipse . The last one across the US , I read , happened in 1979 . I don’t know how they work exactly , but I might have to wait until , say , about 2054 to watch the next one . Yeah ? I don’t know ; are they on a strict schedule ? ( Science was not one of my strong points in school , either, obviously ! I was lost , for example , in Chemistry 1 in 10th grade as soon as the teacher started discussing moles , which popped up in the first chapter of the textbook. ) .
Too late in the game by 2054 or 2055 , I think .
Reminds me of the joke about the 100 year old man who volunteers to umpire a little league baseball game . The coaches are skeptical . They question him about his eyesight . He points out far- off objects and he describes them in detail until the coaches are convinced that his sight is excellent and that he can do the job .
Then the first pitch . The old man is silent .
Was it a strike ? Was it a ball ? He is still silent . The coaches begin to loudly question him . What was it ? Make the call !
The old man says : ” I forgot .”
Jeez. I can’t even get the month of the eclipse straight , at my current age . Imagine me at the time that the next total solar eclipse passes across the continental US . I wouldn’t put much hope in anticipation of any extraordinary powers of observation of mine by then .
But , we’ll see .