So, I am the kind of girl who cries when seeing a space shuttle up close. I know that now.
Yesterday as part of L.A.’s annual museum free-for-all, I decided to take myself on a solo date to see space shuttle Endeavour. Like a giddy schoolgirl, I packed a small picnic and my camera in my backpack and headed out to Exposition Park. I knew there would be a crowd there on a day like yesterday, but I didn’t mind. Often when I travel alone, crowds do not bother me as much. I have less to worry about when I am alone. The only moods and hunger I am managing are my own and I wanted the time to absorb reading every single exhibit that fascinated me and that is exactly what I did.
During my formative years, my parents (especially my Dad) avoided crowds like the plague. And in my adult life, I have learned to love crowds but this only works when I am by myself. Other people’s moods affect me a lot and when entrenched in a crowd, both good or bad — the experience changes.
Having a packed house at Endeavour made the experience that much more enjoyable. Before seeing the shuttle itself, there is a walk thru exhibit that takes you through Endeavour’s journey in California. My favorite part was a video that was shot during the 68 hour journey Endeavour took through L.A. streets from LAX to the California Science Center. After seeing how Endeavour flew through our skies ferried by a Boeing 747, millions of people watching as she flew across the US — it made my heart swell to experience this collective of pride and love. And at the exhibit, seeing little boys and girls running around with diecast models of Endeavour, asking their parents and grandparents endless questions about this beautiful craft, I couldn’t help but wonder how many future careers in science and engineering were hatched at that moment. I watched a little girl look up at Endeavour’s belly for a good five minutes, marveling at her as she marveled at the shuttle’s grandeur and I started to cry. I’m a fan of what Endeavour means to the world. And what she will mean to future generations, how she will educate, inspire and innovate.
Endeavour, like many great models of inspiration, is like a human thread. I felt like almost every race, age and color was present at the exhibit yesterday and that is what really moved me. Endeavour can bring so many people together and for a moment while coalesced in her splendor give us all a chance to feel part of a collective. How often do we get a chance to feel this way?
So, yes I do cry at the presence of space shuttles. But at least now I know the real reason why I do.