Last night I spent two hours listening to an astronaut tell stories of his experiences, tell jokes, sing songs and show the photos he had taken from the international space station. He is one of those natural story tellers that keeps you ccaptivated from start to finish. I can’t remember the last time I was so interested in hearing another person speak. Part of the speech included a bit about focusing on the now, disconnecting and experiencing life away from social media. I couldn’t help but appreciate that small moment in time when I sat in the exact same venue with the exact same friend as I did 25 years earlier as an elementary schooler hearing another astronaut speak. I was grateful in that moment that I’ve had a friend for that long who is still a part of my life. That’s pretty amazing.
I learned an incredible amount of information last night. Here are a few highlights:
- Astronauts wear diapers (made by Johnson and Johnson that have little blue and pink rockets on them) on take off and landing
- Sputnik means “little voyager” in Russian
- Astronauts suffer from osteoporosis as a result of entering space but it reverses itself over time back on earth. Medical science is trying to study how it reverses itself.
- When an astronaut returns to earth they can’t stand up right away because their heart is unaccustomed and unable to pump blood from their feet to their heart
- Right after entering orbit an astronaut is likely to vomit. The barf bags have towels attached to them because the vomit bounces off the bottom of the bag and splashes you back in the face. The towels are so you can wipe off your face.
- There is a guitar that stays on the international space station because it is known that the arts are essential to maintaining positive mental health in a time of isolation
- The likelihood of death taking off in a spaceship is 1 in 38
Great stuff right? Now throw in some jokes and inspirational pictures and you’ve got yourself a great two hours. Afterwards I met him ever so briefly to sign a book of photography that I will give my father for Christmas. I’m convinced that he jogs. He has done so much with his life and contributes so much to many organizations that I know he jogs. I hate joggers. They’re out there in all sorts of shitty weather at ungodly hours making everyone feel shitty about their life choices. I get it. You jog. You’re better than me. Fuck you joggers.