Last Tuesday, a friend took me to the Highline – the pleasant park up on the old elevated train track on Manhattan’s West Side – far above all the other humans, rats and taxis. On Tuesdays, a group of astronomers set up a few telescopes and train them on whatever they can find, through the fog of light which encapsules Metropolis. It was also a cloudy night, Tuesday, so the stargazers had there work cut out for them.
“It’s the Blah, Blah, Blah (numbers I couldn’t remember) Aquarii,” said one of the astronomers, a very science-y, gapped toothed, thickly bespectacled chap. “Ya gonna see a blue stah revolvin’ around a red stah. Of course, they don’t look like they’re movin’. It’s called a binary stah system. See…” The chap looks into the microscope. “Hey, Joe!”
“Whaddya’ want!” said Joe, equally science-y and bespectacled, but displaying tightly snug chompers. He was standing next to another telescope, chatting up with two very pretty young ladies.
“You need to fix this, Joe, it’s blurry.”
“Twist the knob and focus it.”
“It’s not that Joe, it’s somethin’ else.”
Joe reluctantly left the two ladies, did the “somethin’ else” and re-trained the telescope on the binary star system. My friend looked first, and after she “oh wowed” for a moment, I peeked into the telescope. I could barely see a blue dot and a red dot, close together. They looked so isolated and far away, surrounded by nothing.
“It can’t be seen by the naked eye,” said the gap-toothed fellow. “But we can see pretty good with these from up here. The two stars are cought in each uthuh’s gravity, just spinnin’ around each other, up there.”
My friend and I left the astronomers to continue their efforts to observe the heavens and woo the ladies. We walked from the Highline, through the chilly evening, to a diner. As we ate, the second presidential debate was airing. Two stars of a different kind, Blue Obama and Red Romney were to duking it out again. President Obama lost to Mitt Romney in the previous debate, badly so, said the well groomed, male news anchors and the just sexy enough female anchors, plus the curious groups of votors selected to decide who beat who. Obama looked contrary to his intelligent, articulate self, and let Mitt Romney walk over him, so the anchors and citizen judges decreed. Therefore, on this second go round, Obama had to win, to save his chance at a second term. Oh, the pressure was in the air, all the way to the golden brown hue of New York’s light-blanket above us. Apparently, Obama schooled Romney in the second debate. Romney also didn’t help himself by the “whole binders full of women” thing, and proved that brain activity levels cannot be totally shielded with money. News outlets reported the amazing turn around for Obama, but said it was still a tight race, OMG, sure to get the blood up in all us voters, get us all nervous and distracted for a while. And, OMG, the anchors and judges say the Stars are neck and neck, caught in each others gravity and shuffling across Universe America in a violent embrace. They will be baby kissing, union stroking, homeless shelter dish washing, memorizing long indecipherable non-answers to prepared questions right up to the third, and final, Presidential debate-to-the-death. Is your blood up, yet? My god, the pulses will only rise higher, right until late in the night of Super Tuesday, when the Blue and Red stars will finish the dance of death, and America will be watching, watching, closer, watching, wait, closer, we’re watching, oh, we’re watching…then BAM! The ruler of the free world will bow, and clean himself as the confetti falls. But WHO will it be, folks at home??? It’s such an exciting, dangerous and totally unpredictable run for the presidency, isn’t it? OMG, you can’t script this!!!! Well, actually, you can. It’s television.
I have to be truthful and state that I did not watch the debate, nor did I the last, or have I really ever watched one. Quite frankly, my naked eye has no trouble seeing throught he fog of light and night of such spectacle. And, come on, neither does anybody’s.
On a New York City street at night, it’s sometimes hard to imagine there’s another 99.999999999999999999999999…% of a universe out there. But that’s somewhat understandable, looking up isn’t it wise here, just come visit, stop and look up at 35th street and 7th avenue at 5:30pm and listen to the curses put upon you, and your children and your children’s children. While walking to the train, Tuesday night, my friend and I kept our naked eyes focused at ground level, to negotiate a path around taxis that screech to a halt in the walk lane, or angry bicyclists, and of course, the already large and growing swarm of smart phone zombies, and a million other things. But above beyond that muddy electric glow over the city, the universe goes on expanding, and a red and blue star, seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, dance violently, on a scale of force incomprehensible to Earthling’s brain.
There will be no happy ending for Blah, Blah, Blah, Aquarii. One star could shake away, and loft out into loneliness, but more than likely one star will die, which is still no consolation for the other star. When a star dies, it’s mass grows so heavy it creates a black hole, and the other star will be the first to get sucked in and obliterated. The black hole will creep through space like a phantom devouring anything in its path. Something the size of Earth wouldn’t have a chance. In an immeasurable moment, Earth and Eathlings, even Americans, with our strong backbones and frontier spirit and apple pies and captialism and baseballs and smart phones and ideas of gods and ipads and referee strikes and abortions and seemless.com and yellow ribbons for our troops will be sucked into nothing, pulled apart to nothing, completely and forever removed from Spacetime. And to think it all began with an innocent dance between a Red star and a Blue star.
But those Red and Blue stars seem so harmless through a lens.