Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Welcome back

I was awakened this morning at 5:05 a.m. by what I thought was an explosion. I lept out of bed and ran to the windows, looking for flames or smoke. Outside, however, it was now quiet.

Too quiet.

I turned around and the dogs were there in my bedroom, heads lowered, staring at me. Comet had her tail tucked, giving me her "I'm freaked out. Can I follow one inch behind you and get in your way until you yell at me?" look. Buster was doing his slow, steady tail wag, meaning he was up for anything.

I pulled on my bathrobe and walked out my front door and into the street, scanning the horizon and waiting for the sirens to start.


Weird, it sounded so close. I mean sure, I was asleep, but it shook the bed, it woke me up. And it wasn't an earthquake.

My neighbor Tom appeared at his front door and confirmed that whatever it was, it woke him up too. Down the block I saw someone else wandering into the street in their bathrobe.

Still no sirens.

I went back to bed, uneasy, until it struck me: Discovery.

They said yesterday that they might land the space shuttle at Edwards Air Force base, in the desert north of LA. But this early? In the dark?

Last time the shuttle landed at Edwards a couple of years ago, I was at work. And I called the Facilities Manager because I thought something really heavy had been dropped on our roof.

Me: Do you have a crew working on the roof?
Him: Huh?
Me: There was this big thud, and the building shook.
Him: Space shuttle.
Me: What? Space shuttle?
Him: Whatsa matter? Ya never heard a sonic boom before?

At 6 a.m. when my alarm clock radio finally ended my attempts to get back to sleep, I learned that sure enough, the shuttle had landed at Edwards at 5:11 a.m. this morning. So, welcome back, astronauts.

Next time, try to keep it down, willya?

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