The Day 5 prompt of 642 Things to Write About asks me, for reasons known only to itself, to imagine a perfect day if I were an astronaut. Let the serious considerings begin.
Okay. Perfect astronaut day. First I wake up around 11 in the morning and I kind of lie there for a while, because who wants to just jump out of bed? People who go into space for a job don’t have to get up early and start running around. After all, if I don’t go into space, who’s going to do it? You? The guy who sold me this bag of Cheetos that I keep under the blankets with me for ‘emergencies’? Exactly.
So I hang out for a while in my bed and search around for my Cheetos. Most of them are in the bag, but a few usually escape and I find those under the pillow or somewhere under the covers, like we’re all at a sleepover and they’re my buddies, except I eat them lol. So that’s breakfast, I guess.
Then it’s exercise time, because astronauts have to be in peak physical condition to cope with the rigors of space flight. There’s all those g-forces (sp?) and no gravity sometimes and you get sick easily. So it’s time for pushups and squats and reps of sets and other things. But this is my perfect day so I stay in bed some more and check Twitter. I tweet that I’m tweeting from orbit lol. Then I find a Cheeto behind my ear.
Can I confess something? I didn’t “find” that Cheeto. I always put one behind my ear before I go to sleep so I’ll have one on hand. They’re like jailyard smokes at NASA.
Now that “exercise time” is done, it’s time for lunch in the cafeteria. I restrict myself to a light salad and a glass of orange juice. I call it ‘buttjuice’ because I’m an astronaut and everyone laughs. Every day! I walk into the cafeteria and call out for my glass of buttjuice and all the engineers and accountants and scientists laugh because I go into space and they spend their lives crawling around like worms at the bottom of the gravity well. Crawl, worms! You are the worms beneath my wings.
So I finish drinking my buttjuice and throw the paper cup on the floor. Mohawk Guy will pick it up, probably. Then it’s over to the rocket, which will take me up into space. Space is where I feel best because there’s no gravity and I can scoot around no-gravity style. After you’ve been up in space, you’ll agree with me that gravity is for suckers and people who don’t like ionizing radiation. Me, I love that stuff. It’s like tumor-inducing sunshine to me.
Did I forget to tell you about getting the suit on and buckling myself in and doing the countdown and feeling the intense pressures of hitting escape velocity in no time flat? Never mind that, I’m in space now and it’s perfect. Then something occurs to me, a quiet thought deep in my brain, a voice delivering information too terrible for me to comprehend. I try to avoid the knowledge, cracking a desperate joke about buttjuice, but then it’s upon me, and I know what I have been striving to forget since I woke that morning. Which is that I’m not an astronaut, the year is 2541, and my physical body expired in the 21st century. Was I ever an astronaut?
Records indicate no.
What was I then?
You were a communications specialist at a tourism marketing agency. And you had a dining column in a local independent weekly.
Oh my god, what is any of that?
Pre-Cataclysm records are spotty. We have no idea what most of those words mean.
Was I at least important?
Almost certainly not.
Is this heaven?
When the Cataclysm occurred, small pockets of the universe were preserved. The quantum bubble matrix was able to capture a few wavefronts of consciousness at the moment of their collapse.
Am I alive?
You are a perpetually collapsing wave, forever cresting, unable to dissolve. The motion of your collapse is attenuated throughout a span of time that, from your perspective, is eternal. But in a more general sense, the Cataclysm annihilated time. So no. You’re dead.
Why do I think I’m an astronaut?
It appears that at the moment of the death of the cosmos, you were at a bar pretending to be astronaut, just to see if any women believed you.
That sounds like me.
It does a bit.
What do I do now?
Now the wave, cresting, having crested, collapses, will collapse, crests again. You will live this day again. We will have this conversation again. Though the universe collapse, everything now is then and you are forever an astronaut.
Oh my GOD what a perfect day.