Last night a new moon coincided with a meteor shower. Larry and I decided to watch. So at ten o’clock, our typical bedtime, we grabbed some blankets, got in the convertible, and headed for the wilderness. We drove out Ortega highway, a curvy strip of road through untamed territory. Lots of other Orange County types must have had the same idea, because we passed dozens parked along the side of the road with people sitting on the roofs of their cars. Larry and I found an isolated dirt road leading to nowhere and parked.
Nothing happened for a while. Six cars passed us, but they all turned around and left (that’s how I know our road lead to nowhere.) Eventually, stars started to fall. The first was the most exciting, but after a while I’d say, “Did you see that one?” and Larry would reply, “No.” After this happened a few times, he admitted, “My eyes are closed.”
I saw seventeen shooting stars. Larry saw five. We left shortly after midnight. As we drove home, it surprised me how many people were still sitting on top of their cars, watching the stars. The news reports had promised that at one point there would be a shooting star a minute. We didn’t see that, but what we did see was worth the drive, and the time—but more for me than for Larry.
There’s a life lesson here. It’s like putting on your sneakers, going to the gym, but spending all of your time talking to your workout friend, or paying for a fancy restaurant but choosing the mac and cheese over the lobster, or traveling to Rome but spending your time in the hotel room watching TV, or paying tuition but not going to class, or paying for Weight Watchers and eating donuts for dinner.
We all do stuff like this all the time, sometimes without even thinking about it. All we have to do is open our eyes to see what we're missing.