My friend Sarah was trying to explain to me that the Apollo Moon landings never happened. She was unaware that she was talking to a person formerly obssessed with the Apollo Program. "You saw that thing on tv, didn't you?" I asked her. She had. I sighed, loudly, and launced into the pathetic lack of science presented. I then broke down the facts about the moon landing. I would like to say that it was my scientific and factual explanation that swayed her, but in the end she was persuaded by a truth stronger than gravity: humans aren't good at keeping secrets. "Lookit, eveyone of those astronauts were married, and almost everyone of them had affairs, and not one single woman has even come forward to spill their guts about the whole thing being fake. Not one. Forget science, she understood the reality of a bitter woman.
For some reason, I read the book A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaiken. It is a really, really good book. Tom Hanks read it, too. (He's cool like me.) After he read it, he put together the miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" for HBO. If you haven't seen it, you really ought to. It is great. I followed up Chaiken's book with every single book I could get my hands on. My most favorite book is Chariots for Apollo, which, I'm not even joking, tells the story of the people who built the lunar lander. It is one of the sweetest love stories I've ever read (tons better than Anna Karenina). It is not a traditional love story, mind you. It is the story about a man, Tom Kelly, and his love an idea; that men could one day land on the moon. He and his team toiled endlessly with the hope that one day something they built would touch the surface of the moon. After the hours of toil and endless tests, the last thing that Tom Kelly did, was kiss each lander good-bye - as though he were sending his child off to school. The sweetness of that kiss, and the hope of a future yet to be imagined -- my nerdy little heart is fueled by such things.
My Mother-in-Law and I went to see "Hidden Figures" today, which of course, I loved. That is one really excellent movie. Thanks to a sweet friend, I had already read the book, but seeing the movie was great. I teared up a couple thousand times. I'm not going to spoil it for you, other than to say that those women were hard-core, off-the-charts, not-kidding-around bad asses. I apologize for the language, but occassionally it seems appropriate. (Although, both my Moms and my Dad read this, so I should probably behave better).
This evening the Husband and I watched the movie "Sully" - speaking of impressive people. So pretty much my day was spent sitting around watching amazing people who get stuff done. Meanwhile, I just barely got the dishes done.
You got to appreciate that relentless drive. The men who worked night and day with Tom Kelly to build the Apollo lander had it, as did the women who fought their way through math that I can't even comprehend to make sure the astronauts had a safe trip. It was the same drive that pushed Sully to think far outside the box and problem-solve his way to a safe landing for all 155 people on board that plane.
I wish I had that kind of drive. That is the kind of person I want to be; relentless, determined and driven. Some days, I stay really focused (stay on target - stay on target) but other times I drift and deadlines slip past me. Maybe that's why we enjoy movies like "Hidden Figures" it reminds us of those hopes, wishes and dreams that lie sleeping in our own hearts.
I always think of that line from A River Runs Through It, (the book, not the movie) when he talks about the "peaceful solitude of the half-light of the canyon, and the hope that a fish will rise." I feel that, don't you? Something that is waiting just below the surface, ready to burst forth, ready to rise.