It has been a sedentary couple of weeks as I have fended off what I insist is a typical winter cold, mainly because I have never had the fever that heralds you-know-what. Perhaps I would be decried as Omicron Superspreader, supervillain extraordinaire, except that I have been working mostly from home and have kept to myself during my forays into The Office.
The main hangover from this cold is an ugly-sounding cough that won’t go away. “OMG,” I hear you whispering, “He really does have … IT! Unclean! Unclean! Take him away!” And now it occurs to me that I’ve become an old guy talking incessantly about his maladies, and so I change subjects.
There is, I suppose, a camaraderie among those who have journeyed to distant stars where humans had never before trod. We recognize each other as we pass in airport concourses, and we nod. If only we were permitted to share what we learned light years from home, but no one would believe us — or worse, we would be removed to a place where we could not harm ourselves or others with our supposed delusions.
I remember the first time I laid eyes on Sol from light years away. “That little insignificant dot in the sky? Why are we so full of ourselves?” The reply to my question was not exactly flattering.
Abducted by aliens? Is that what you think I’m claiming? Ah, if only the truth were so adventurous. Such tales I could tell, of bizarre dark-eyed scientists perplexed by the workings of this fragile mortal coil, probes attached in places I never suspected a probe could be attached. No, it’s nothing like that.
I am bound more by an unspoken code than draconian law. Those of us who have been out there simply don’t discuss it. I wish I could say more, but, as I said, you would think I’m making it all up anyway.
If I could share one thing I learned in my Journey to Far Metaphor — oh, and now you begin to understand — I would say, well, love one another. It’s a platitude no one takes seriously — “Ah, yes, we should, we could, we would” — and a platitude as neglected as time.
But when you’ve seen Earth from such a distance, it seems like nothing is more important.