Meteor Showers and Murphy’s Law

Allistair Santiago

meteor-shower.JPGThis is rapidly turning into one of the busiest summers in recent memory. Once again, I have just returned from a trip, this time to my friend’s dad’s cabin near Kamloops, BC. This time I didn’t plan it; some things, though, you can’t say no to.

Two weeks ago, I received a call from my oldest friend, Scott, inviting me and several other friends out to his dad’s lakeside cabin. Now, in the twenty-odd years I’ve known Scott, I’ve been to the cabin countless times and I was under no illusions as to what I would be getting myself into.

Having been built somewhat inexpertly by Scott’s grandfather several decades ago, the cabin cycles constantly through various states of disrepair and lists more and more to the south-west with each winter. The plumbing is negligible, necessitating the particularly spider-friendly outhouse, which itself boasts a new glass door. Yes, that’s right, there’s a full-length, perfectly clear window in the middle of the outhouse door – but it’s got a great view of the lake.

So you can see why, ordinarily, I diplomatically decline these invitations. And I suspect Scott knew I was preparing to do exactly that when he added “There’s gonna be a meteor shower.” And that’s really all he needed to say. I was in.

Now, I would hazard that everyone is inexplicably fascinated by the night sky, especially the dramatic night sky. I, myself, felt a childlike thrill of glee at the thought of actually witnessing a real, live meteor shower. And so it was with mounting excitement that we set out last Tuesday morning.

The first night was the best. It was only the beginning of the meteor shower, but the sky was perfect and the night was crisp. The five of us sat on foldable deck chairs in the middle of the floating dock, taking care to keep the weight distribution even, lest we submerge the rickety apparatus. A live version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon played softly from my iPod as we watched the occasional meteor streak its suicidal course through the upper reaches of our atmosphere. It was perfectly clichéd.

The second night was somewhat more disappointing. The meteor shower was supposed to be at its peak, so we anticipated a real show. All day I pestered my friend Donegan – a bona fide rocket scientist – with questions in my fervour. Then evening came, and just as we sat down for dinner, it clouded over and began to rain. The rain continued until just before sunset, leaving us with an angry sky blotted with turbulent clouds. We watched the sun go down from the dock, woefully music-less in the damp. We stayed there for a short time, teased by the glimpses and flashes afforded us through the rare breaks in the clouds.

Soon, however, frustrated and cold, we headed inside, lit a fire in the woodstove and watched a VHS copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This was a first experience for me, and I don’t think I care to comment on it.

All in all, the trip was great. I was with four of my oldest and closest friends and I got to see something I’ve never seen before. Honestly, what we saw of the meteor shower was fantastic. But ultimately what we couldn’t see was frustrating, which is why we left the cabin the following morning with the iron resolve to return next winter to freeze our butts off for the next big meteor shower.[tags]meteor shower, murphy’s law, Kamloops, canada, camping, cabin, trip[/tags]

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