John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey
the_gneech

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Challenger

I was home from high school for reasons I don't recall now; it was the first shuttle launch I'd had the opportunity to watch live.

As always, there were delays, random countdown stops, etc., but finally it launched.

Cool. :)

It climbed, climbed, started turning.

bzzt

It was a ball of smoke, with two self-eating booster rockets going off randomly.

No kaboom, no flash, no nothing.

Just bzzt. And commentators wondering what the hell was going on.

I was startled, and sorta confused. But I wasn't upset.

Not until about three years later, I was watching Koyaanisqatsi, with its climax sequence, of a single piece of debris cast off from the explosion and tracked, presumably, by a chase plane or helicopter.

Falling.

Turning.

Falling.

Turning.

Falling.

Turning.

Falling.

Turning.

Falling.

Turning.

While bass voices chanted "Koyaanisqatsi" [1] over and over again.

Falling.

Turning.

Falling.

Turning.

Falling.

Turning.

God, somebody, make it STOP.

Then I cried my eyes out.

It wasn't until 9/11 that I had that feeling again, that deep, bottom-of-your-soul grief. It's not a feeling I am eager to experience again any time soon.

-The Gneech

[1] Hopi: "Life out of balance."
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