Wednesday, February 07, 2007

space debris and my one deep breath

Cramped and covered by whirling space debris, there is no escape. We’ve filled up this earth with crap and now our offal extends into the last frontier. There’s nowhere that’s open, there’s nowhere that’s free, there’s nowhere with wide open windows peering clearly into deep space. It’s cluttered up with junk and I’m claustrophobic and beginning to pant and sweat. Crouching down in a tiny closing box, my chest is tight. I can’t breathe.

I took a trip to Florida once, way out past Key West. The Dry Tortugas are a small group of small islands that sit in the Gulf of Mexico about 50 miles from the nearest electric light. I thought I was getting away from it all. I was but a speck upon a speck upon the deep blue sea, free to feel space all around me. At night we laid on the beach in the sand drinking scotch, the warm sub-tropical waters lapping at our feet. The dark was pure dark. Whole and encompassing. Complete to the horizon. Stars melted together in patches of pale yellow breaking up on the edges. Single brilliant pin pricks of light lived there. The milky way lay draped over it all like lace.

Drunk and sandy we watch the sky for signs of life. But all we see are satellites, streaking through the night.

A single pin prick rattled loose.

They tell us that the critical density of space debris has been reached. 10,000 so-called detectable objects are about to begin a spontaneous ramshackle game of busted billiards until all that’s left is a cloud of dust to envelop the earth. A busted old satellite and an astronaut’s wrench are going to collide in four days, a less than dramatic catalyst for the calamity. Well fuck that man. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. But there’s nowhere else to run. We’re covered in this shit like so much smog laying low on Los Angeles. But unlike the blessed city of angels we can’t just up and leave the cesspool behind, dashing for the Kern River Plateau at 100 miles per hour with a bottle of cold beer in one hand and a fly rod in the other. No. That’s not an option. All we can do is lay back and bask in the crap. There is no escape. Space debris surrounds us.

Laying there on the beach I thought I was free. My chest could finally expand to its full proportion and take in freedom wholeheartedly. But then one rattled loose. And another. They’re blocking my escape. They’re blocking my deep breath.


D Hanks said...


I remember that Tortugan trip! I want to go back some time. I want to take my SCUBA gear with me and stay underwater for hours watching all of those fishes. I want to get a close look at that Goliath Grouper. Man that was a cool fish.

On a bright note in regards to all of the space debris--maybe it'll block some sunlight and slow down global warming. See the article here:


Matthew D Dunn said...

Jew fish! I would love to do some scuba. I want to go to someplace even more remote and with less people next time. Remote Bahamas? Still all that space debris though.

I'm hugely looking forward to fishing and backpacking in March.

Anonymous said...

The reason your dad won't let you join the Double D Club is because you're a downer.
Nathan Friedlander

Anonymous said...

You're writing is pretty cool Matt. I wrote some amateur erotica for this incest Web site. Maybe you'd like to check it out.
I guess it's true when they say your first writing is always autobiographical. (My older brother wasn't as good looking as the older brother in the story. Ha!)
Navy Seals Ho
G. Rank
Seventh Grade Science Teacher

Anonymous said...

I do not approve of your use of the word "Jew fish." This term was first applied to the species in the 18th century in a manner insulting to memebers of the Jewish community.
Please alter this post accordingly.
Noah Goldstein
Jewish Motorcycle Alliance

make-root-beer said...

As you're growing up as a teenager, there are a number of things that you look forward to; getting your drivers

license, graduating from high school, going to your senior prom, having your first date and having your first beer.

The problem with this last one is that the drinking age and the thing you want make it something that you just can't

have yet. And still, you want it and will go to any lengths to get it.

Underage beer drinking is certainly no secret and to try to sweep it under the carpet isn't going to make it go

away. But the most odd thing about underage drinking when it comes to beer is that even after kids sneak their first

beer, they still want to have another one. If you're wondering why that sounds so strange then you need to think

back to when YOU had your first beer. It was pretty nasty tasting. Let's be honest, beer is bitter and is an

acquired taste. Very few people, if any at all, enjoyed their first beer. Many even get sick after it because of the

taste or the fact that they're not used to the alcohol yet.

Matthew D Dunn said...

Yo make-root-beer,

What the fuck are you talking about? You might be the greatest spam generator ever. That or a French person with decent English but bad story telling abilities.

very best,
Fuck You

Anonymous said...

A lot of my buddies in high school used to call me a loser and I thought that was wrong, but after reading that roor beer post, I can see why losers need to be called out.
Glenn R.
Fourth Grade Science Teacher