It’s 6:38 AM and I’m making my kids’ lunches and staring out my kitchen window mindlessly at the valley below, when this light – this incandescent neon green light – catches my eye low on the horizon. The light gets larger and travels east. It’s a meteorite, my groggy mind realizes, a flipping meteorite, shooting across the morning sky.
Quickly I turn to search for my phone because I have to get this on video, right? Because it’s nothing if it’s not on video. But no, I can’t find my phone and even if I could, who was I kidding? There’s no way my middle-aged fingers could have managed to get my video camera on, and capture this thing.
So instead I turn back and watch and just take it in, all the while feeling guilty that I’m witnessing this magnificent sight all-alone. The streak moved across the sky, grew larger, and then turned into a ball – a big, freaking green ball with flames coming off the edges! Then, just like that, it burns up and it’s gone.
“I saw a meteorite!” I screamed to my kids, as I ran down the hall towards their bedrooms. They were duly impressed, but their interest quickly waned, lasting about the same amount of time it took the meteorite to cross the sky.
Their fleeting interest was frustrating because, after all, it’s human nature to want to share your unusual experience with others, to get validation, to hear other people’s stories, but mostly to tell your own.
So I did what anyone would do next; I turned to Twitter. I searched meteorite and found a lone woman, a young millennial, who tweeted that she had seen it too.
“I saw it too!!!” I wrote back, excitedly.
Minutes passed, yet no more posts appeared. “Maybe only you and I saw it?” I wrote to her again, suddenly feeling very connected to this stranger.
Again I waited, but by this time my own millennials had grown mouthy, impatient that my meteorite obsession was preventing me from providing them breakfast and filling their bags of lunch.
“How can you think about food when I just saw a fiery green ball in the sky?” I asked.
They had no answer.
I refreshed Twitter again. Finally more posts appeared. “Other people are tweeting about it too, I’m not crazy LOL” a DJ wrote in response to my original tweet. “I feel so lucky,” he added, belying the too-cool tone of the other posts on his feed.
Then a young music producer/DJ tweeted, “A green light, bright, shooting over the San Diego sky!”
Like a character in a science fiction show, I felt inexplicably drawn to these people. Did we have something else in common perhaps; something that explained why we were the select few chosen to witness this special sight? I scoured their feeds. Tweets about music and dancing were the only similar threads I could find. Hmm. Sometimes I watch music and dancing shows on TV. Perhaps that was it?
Soon I was indulging in a fantasy of the four of us meeting and forming a meteorite club. “Hello, my name is Kristen and my family doesn’t understand the importance of what I saw, but I can feel like you people do.” “Welcome Kristen.”
Then, as I looked over their posts again, I noticed that they all saw just a green flash or a green light. Really, that’s it? They didn’t see the freaking giant green ball with the freaking green flames surrounding it? Just a green light – that’s it?
I was obviously the queen of this meteorite. I had the best story, by far.
But then I realized something else. They were calling it a meteor, not a meteorite. I Googled. Turned out it’s only a meteorite if it hits the ground, if it doesn’t burn up. I was calling it by the wrong name. I was not the meteorite queen after all.
Embarrassed, I considered deleting my earlier tweets, but I already had 5 “likes” and was well on my way to a personal record.
Still hungry to share my experience, I turned to Facebook “Did anyone else see the meteor?” I posted. My so-called friends were not impressed, “A little early to be smoking something, isn’t it?” “You sure it wasn’t a special effect for a movie?” “Did you see any aliens too?” they mocked.
My desire to share was not satisfied and now the day was nearly half gone. There were bills to pay, a tax appointment to prepare for, and chores to complete.
But I couldn’t concentrate. I wasn’t ready.
I couldn’t think about bills or taxes, and I didn’t even feel like squandering time on the internet reading about bickering candidates or the most recent celebrity faux pas.
I only wanted to revel in that moment; that wondrous and magical moment, when I gazed out at the newly lit horizon and saw that beautiful unearthly light transform into a fiery green ball, and travel across the morning sky.