If you ever listened to The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you will be aware of the the Total Perspective Vortex. This was a torture chamber that worked on a simple theory: as every atom is connected to every other atom, it is possible to extrapolate an entire version of the Universe using something as simple as a piece of fairy cake. Stick your hapless victim inside it and the enormity of creation (plus a small sign saying ‘You are Here’) will inevitably destroy their soul. Yesterday, I discovered the American Museum of Natural History didn’t need fairy cake to produce roughly the same effect. They just built the Hayden Planetarium, and got Neil Degrasse Tyson to do a film about Dark Matter.
My brain’s still reeling after yesterday’s trip: I cried pretty much from the moment the film started until the moment I left the theatre. It wasn’t just the enormity of scale either, but the understanding of a true and intractable interconnectivity of everything to everything else. The Museum itself is a mass of contradictions: the traditional taxidermy makes me physically uncomfortable, and is starkly inappropriate when placed next to the joy of the Universe. This place, as my husband very astutely pointed out, has to work very hard to engage in a country where many people still staunchly believe that evolution is a myth. In fact, when you stick the vastness of the Universe next to the belief that the Planet was created in a week? Stories have their place in the world, but not at the expense of reality and truth. Sometimes, you need to understand where one ends and the others begin.
For me undoubtedly the highlight of the Museum was the Gemstone Hall: so many pictures have been taken (I’ve stuck them all on Flickr, for what it’s worth) and will be integrated as Blog headers on my return. Then it was just so hot out we went home, and spent the evening watching British athletes win Olympic medals, with chicken pasta and vegetables for tea. All told it was one of the most relaxing evenings I can remember for a VERY long time. Husband’s gone for a walk this morning because he, like me, would actually be liking to do more exercise but the weather’s causing that to be a fairly big ask. I’ll salute the people I saw running in New York yesterday, your lungs are far stronger than mine: it has been so bad I actually had to pull an Inhaler out yesterday for relief.
Today I am reliably informed should be the last day of insufferably hot weather, but that’s now not really an issue as we can pick places with superb AC and wireless to keep the kids occupied should the content around them fail to engage. I think that means we’ll be heading for Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but that is going to be dictated by what time husband comes back from a walk/run (I thought I was bad with needing the exercise, but he’s beginning to feel it too) and when the kids finally choose to surface. That should give me plenty of time therefore to catch up on words in various places, and maybe even get to schedule some stuff on the side. I don’t really care where in the World I am now: as long as I have the means to write?
Everything is great.