The nebula created by the supernova of 1604 A.D.,
taken by the Hubble space telescope.
Yesterday I had to go into to see Margie, my doctor's nurse, for a kind
of prelim visit before my procedure next week. I got there early.
Sitting there in the waiting room I grabbed a section of the day's
Spokesman-Review and went through it. It was the entertainment section,
and after going through some of it I noticed a piece on the upcoming
Cirque de Soleil performance which is coming to Spokane. "Damn" I said to
myself. "I really would have liked to have seen that one." But there was
the medical stuff the following week, and I also didn't have the money for
tickets, even if one had still been available.
I put the newspaper section down. On the chair next to me was the March
2007 issue of National Geographic. I picked it up and turned to an
article on supernovas. Once every second, the article said, a star
somewhere in our universe goes supernova. In just the time it might take
us to have a cup of coffee and a few pieces of toast, a dozen worlds
come to their end. An exploding star, if massive enough, can give rise
to a plasmic fountain from its center which shoots out into space at 99
percent of the speed of light and burning at billions of degrees. Next
to a cosmic ring-side seat for all of that, suddenly the Cirque de Soleil
didn't seem like such a big deal any more.
Margie came out and we went back to an examining room. Everything seemed
to be going okay for Tuesday's event. She showed me one of the Guidant
implants that was similar to the one I'm going to be getting. It's about
the size of a large oval pocket watch, and just about as thick. As a
joke, I asked her if it could play MP3 tunes. You think that if you were
going to bother to get something like that, it would at least have some
sort of MP3 capability.
Evidently, Apple has been developing their new iPacer. The iPacer will
not only have MP3, but a host of other nice features. Steve Jobs claims
that when they release it that "the iPacer will become the preferred
electronic implant of choice for a new generation of wired-in,
The Guidant Pacemaker.
No MP3, unfortunately.
I left the Deaconess Doctor's Building only to see a bus coming up the
street. Great luck, I thought, I won't have to wait around. I was
planning to bus it back downtown and then stop at the Satellite for a
couple of ryes.
As the bus pulled up to the stop it had SUPPORT OUR TROOPS on the front
of it where the route number is usually displayed. Assuming it was the
#02 Medical Shuttle, I hopped on board. It was packed with a bunch of
high school kids. The driver yelled back at them to make a seat for me,
and to my surprise not just one but several kids got up and offered me
The bus took off. But instead of turning right once we got up the street,
it turned left. I was on the wrong bus. Instead of the #02 Medical Shuttle,
it seemed that I had caught the #666 But To Nowhere. We passed by the
apartment where my ex-girlfriend lives (or used to live, perhaps). I looked
up at the patio, where we had sat on so many nights drinking wine and talking
about everything in the universe. It made me sad thinking about it.
The girl sitting next to me had a violin case. "Is that a violin?" I
asked her. "Yeah" she said. "I've been playing about seven years now."
I told her that I used to play when I was younger and asked her who she
was studying with. She said that she wasn't studying with anyone at the
moment, just playing in her school orchestra, but had formerly studied
with a woman who played in the Spokane Symphony.
The bus continued south. I didn't know the route. Some buses here in
Spokane make their routes rather quickly before they head back to town.
And some don't. I went up and asked the driver when they would reach the
end point of the route. "We'll be there about 3:50" he said. I looked at
my watch. It was 3:05. That meant I had 45 minutes just to get to the
end of the route, plus all the return time back to town. Or about an
hour and a half. Hell, I thought, I could take a bus to St. Regis,
Montana in that amount of time. I asked the driver if there was going to
be a bus on that route going back the other way. He told me that it had
already passed us. So I asked him if there was another route within a
few blocks or so of the current one that I might walk to for a bus back
in. He said there was one, the #44 29th Avenue, that was coming up in a
I went back to my seat for a few minutes. Then the driver called me up.
"See that bus coming towards us?" He said. "It'll stop there by that
fire hydrant. You might make it if you run."
Run? I don't think the guy knew all of the facts. Run?
I jumped off the bus. I ran. In fact I not only ran, but I ran across
the four lanes of traffic coming against me, causing all of them to stop
for me, not really caring at that point as it seemed that even getting
hit by a car would be preferable to having to wait another 35 minutes or
more for a bus. I ran until I got across the cross street and the oncoming
bus slowed down. Then I got on the bus, slid my pass through, and collapsed
in the closest seat.
A few minutes later, the #44 29th Avenue was coming into the downtown
Spokane area. I pulled the ringer and went to the front. At that point I
just wanted to get off the damn bus and hope that the Satellite was
pretty close. The bus headed down a block and then made a turn, headed
down another block and pulled over. I got out.
I was right across the street from the Satellite.
I looked at my watch again. It was 3:25. All of that confusing bullshit
from Deaconess up South Hill and then down again to the Satellite had
only taken a half hour. Which may not have been as quick as if I had
stepped on the right bus, but given the circumstances it wasn't bad at
A few things occurred to me since yesterday. First, the whole deal about
supporting our troops is just getting out of hand. I don't think it makes
any difference to someone in Iraq or Afghanistan whether a bus in Spokane
has SUPPORT OUR TROOPS written on the marquee. I think they've got more
important things to think about. Like not getting their heads blown off.
It also occurred to me that there were a lot of nice young people out
there. Kids who would offer you their seat without bitching about it. Or
kids who would talk to an older person about their activities without
thinking that it was "way un-cool" to do so. I don't know why, but that
stuff surprised me. It's good to know otherwise.
I learned that if hard-pressed enough I can actually still run for short
distances without needing my nitroglycerine. Or at least I can at times.
Other times, perhaps not. But that was good to know. It made me feel a
little less put upon physically.
It occurred to me too that I didn't have enough faith in the balance of
things, that I didn't have enough faith in Ma'at. Night follows day and
day follows night. Dying stars give rise to the elements that create new
ones on the infinite and eternal canvas of the Creator.
And sometimes, whether you expect it or not, things just have a way of
turning out okay.
This will be my last post for a while.
I have a new short story going, and I want
to try to finish it before next week's business.
Thank you, my friends.
"Peace — Love — Outta here."