2017-08-22 - Tip Jar

Tip Jar

Stalk The Comic:

August 22, 2017 - News Post

I’ve been dreading this week for years.

Oh sure, you probably heard about the eclipse. Crisscrossing the US, total darkness, first eclipse to be viewable in the US since the 70’s. Blah blah blah. You know who else heard of it?

My parents.

Back when I lived in Portland, OR, they reserved a space on my air mattress. This was 3 or 4 years ago. Portland, you see, was just north of the path of totality. They wanted to see a total solar eclipse.

Freaked out, I clearly needed to relocate. So I threw my wife in the car and we moved to Nashville, TN. It was a 4-day drive, almost on the opposite side of the country. Surely, this would be far enough.

Fun tip: Do your research before moving. It turned out that Nashville was DIRECTLY in the path of the moon’s shadow. I had gone from 99.2% obscuration to 100%. With 2 years of planning and excuses, I was unable to convince my parents to stay away.

So the awe-inspiring once-in-a-lifetime event was overshadowed (get it?) by a visit from the parents. Yay. They pretended to be pleasant enough, they acted excited about the eclipse, but I know the truth: they were here to annoy me.

You know how parents are. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. “Don’t stare at the sun”, “You’re supposed to wear your eclipse glasses”, and “Do you need us to take you to the hospital for your blindness?”... Nag, nag, nag.

I tried to enjoy the eclipse. As the moon turned the sun into a Pac-man shape, the shadows cast by trees left a crescent shape, the temperature dropped, and the lighting around us became a dusty gray. If it had been dark enough mask the parents, it might’ve been a pleasant experience.

My wife, my (ugh) parents, myself, and a few friends from out of town all walked a few blocks to an open sky for the main event. There had been a number of clouds throughout the day, even some in the sky, but the sun was thankfully in the clear.

When totality struck, we had about a minute and half to stare at the sun’s corona. It was MUCH brighter than I was expecting. All the photos I saw online showed a black sky around the corona, this was not the case. We could see stars, but the lighting was much closer to dusk than night. The sky was dark blue, not black, and the corona was a brilliant white ring around the black circle of the moon. It was so odd looking, it distracted me from the annoyance of my parents’ visit for a full 90 seconds.

The totality ended and we wandered back to the house. Even after the amazing astronomical event was over, my parents STILL stuck around for the rest of the day. They wanted to know what I thought of the eclipse and what was new in my life. Why didn't I leave town for their visit?!?

They’re gone now, the eclipse was great, but I’m seriously wondering if it was worth the trouble of seeing my parents. I suppose this visit was slightly more tolerable than most, at least it was over quickly (sorry, readers, for getting all sentimental there).

There’s another eclipse hitting the US in 2024. Thankfully, it will be nowhere near Nashville. If you live in the path of totality, do yourself a favor and move now. My parents are looking for a good place to stay, and it’s not going to be with me.

-Jeff