Thursday, December 16, 2010

Failed to Achieve Mission

January 28, 1986

I left the mobile home I lived in and got in my '76 Corolla and drove to the dealership. My plan was to shop for a new car.

On arrival at the dealership, I entered the front glass door and encountered an empty showroom. Looking around I discerned a group in a rear office with the door open, huddled before a television, intent. One guy was saying something but I didn't make it out.

I assumed some sort of sales meeting was going on, with a motivational video playing. My thought was that they ought to schedule such things so that customers aren't given short shrift. Annoyed, I spoke up. "Hey, how about some service?" or something. A man scurried out and attended to me, as I asked about various models. He seemed distracted, fretting, and I soon disengaged and left, disgusted by the lack of customer care. "What is going wrong in society?" I asked myself.

Traffic was likely bad on the way home. No doubt I encountered distracted drivers not paying attention.

I was always proud of my sound systems I installed in my cars. Good stereo and amp, with a large choice of prime rock 'n' roll, and radio was never on my menu. Radio was for squares.

I arrived home and encountered my roommate, distraught, on the verge of tears. "My god, my god, it's awful. The TV... What, you don't know? The Challenger just blew up. Oh my god..."

I turned to the TV and within seconds I ascertained the news of the awful explosion of the Challenger. I too, then, came close to tears and went into that shock of horrible emotion of the tragedy. Being a space program supporter my whole life, I felt what everyone in our community felt. Awful.

"Have you heard?" No, the man at the car dealership never asked that as he ushered me around. So I didn't know. Looking back, I'm convinced he somehow thought that I had heard the news.

I wonder how he remembers it: the day the bastard who didn't give a damn came in on Challenger disaster day.

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