Friday, June 8, 2012

Transit My Face, Venus

Diagram showing how transits of Venus occur an...
Diagram showing how transits of Venus occur and why they don't occur frequently. Drawn by User:Theresa Knott; License see: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Because I rarely turn on the TV, I totally missed the buzz about the transit of Venus until it was already transiting. D'oh!

So after work I'm planted in my reading chair, watching the coverage of the people watching the Transit from the Griffith Park Observatory, only a few miles away. Feeling very sorry for myself.

I live in an apartment that technically faces west, but is only a few dozen feet from an even taller condo. That's the way my entire street is, one 2-3 story apartment building, a narrow space, then another, and another... Basically I figure we live much like the canyon people of the Southwest. The soft susurration of cars passing up the street that echoes through the courtyards isn't too dissimilar to the sound of a mountain stream. The odors of whatever my neighbors are barbecuing waft through my open windows; sometimes temptingly, sometimes not. The ancient people had coyotes howling at the moon, we have the neighbor's yapping Pekinese that won't shut the cuff up at night.  Same difference.

I am grateful, however, that unlike the original canyon peeps, I have indoor plumbing and cable.

Between the tall condo to the west and some shady trees, sometimes my apartment just doesn't get that much afternoon sun. Plus it was (unusual for SoCal) kind of cloudy that day anyway. I told myself that even if I had known about the Transit and headed straight to the Observatory after work, I never would have gotten a parking spot, couldn't afford the super-duper special sunshades, and prolly wouldn't have seen anything anyway, because of the clouds. Sour grapes, I know.

I'm still sitting there, thinking I should move into my office and do some actual writing, instead of sitting there being unproductive, but I'm too comfortable and lazy to move.

So then, Venus and the sun decided to say, fine, you won't come to us, we'll come to YOU. The clouds parted, the wind stirred the tree to the west, and the sun shone straight onto my face where I sat in my big overstuffed chair. I didn't even have to shift my fat ass. How awesome is that?

Of course, even though I had just listened to three differently newscasters explain why you shouldn't look straight at the sun with unprotected eyes, I instinctively turned my head and looked at it anyway, just for a second. Luckily, the tree's leaves provided some screening, and it was only for a second before I realized I was being a super-idiot. I sm hrdly seeeing thaty bigg bluue dot n frnt of my facce at alll anymoree. NNNo dammmage too myy viision, guesss i gottt luuucky.

I am still super-pumped. I got to see (well, mostly, feel) the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. I got to breathe in air warmed by the heat of the sun mixed up with some magic Venus juice.

Surely that gives me some kind of super-power, right? Much better than being bit by a radioactive spider or injected with some mystery formula in a lab, all I had to sacrifice was my eyesight.

Sadly, though I have searched and searched, I have not discovered any legends or myths about the transit of Venus granting anyone special magical powers, though I did come across a Souza march for the Transit of Venus (which, as Patrick Weidinger pointed out, sounds pretty much like every other Souza march).

Still. In a way, not finding an actual legend is even better, because now I can make up whatever I want.

Oh, not for me, but for one of my characters.  Surely I can work the whole intensified Venus-shine thing into whatever I want. A blessing, a curse, maybe she now has the power of the goddess Venus to attract any man she wants...? Or just to eat vast amounts of chocolate without gaining weight.

Or maybe it is the first part in some mystical cosmic trifecta - next she has to stand in a moonless night and see her own shadow cast by Jupiter. Then if she swims in Crater Lake, she will... I dunno. Glow in the dark? Be able to breathe in the vacuum of space? Regrow a severed limb?

Still working this stuff out.

What do you think? Did you see the Transit of Venus, with your own two (hopefully still functional) eyeballs? What magical powers do you think it could have given you - me - a fictional character?

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