I was woken up this morning by two loud booms, and the window above my head rattling.
I had no idea what had happened, but since I live in Los Angeles, it could have been anything. Some sort of weird earthquake shock, gunfire, explosions, who knows?
When I got to work, I had an email from my guy roomate, asking if we’d been woken up by the space shuttle. Turns out that in our media-insular environment, we hadn’t realized that Discovery was landing at Edwards as a back up plan:
There’s something really cool about an entire city being woken up by a space shuttle on re-entry. It makes me imagine all the different people in Los Angeles, from the Mexican family living eight to a four-room house in East L.A., to the night shift workers coming home in Bell Gardens, to the hipsters in Silverlake, all woken up by a space shuttle representing a human quest. The space shuttle, which reaches beyond the present, into a global future for a human race, united the city this morning by disturbing it.
It reminds me of a Bradbury story – “Rocket Summer”, in which the departure of a rocket to Mars brings a momentary summer to winter in an Ohio city. Everyone, black and white, experiences the same thing. When you put this city against the context of space shuttles, the future, the space beyond our planet, it puts a whole different perspective on Los Angeles. The city becomes just a cluster of the same species of sentient beings, instead of the microcosm of the world and all its differences that I usually see it as (to me, L.A. is sometimes representative of a third-world city, albeit not as poor)
Then again, I’m writing all this a bit sleep deprived thanks to that shuttle, so I may be over romanticizing it.