Chaos Attraction

Brain Remission

2020-07-09, 8:48 p.m.

I don't know what happened, but today I actually feel sane and competent, for the first time since starting quarantine. It feels like remission or something! Like I feel normal. Hell, I even went back to walking around the apartment again after work. It wasn't just "I don't feel totally fucking drained today so it's a good day," but like, NORMAL. God, I hope this lasts! It's really nice!

The day at work was actually fine. I kept my mouth shut and said the bare minimum during the morning meeting with Lioness, so that was good. It was announced that Coworker Sarah got hired and then the day after she leaves, the new person is actually hired and starting. She worked at the nearest equivalent giant org to my giant org, in the same duration of time that I've worked in their version of this office. Not sure what exactly she did specifically though. God, I hope we get along because (other than today) I have not been in a good place at work and I am apparently quite the inadvertent asshole who won't show her face on camera either. Hoooo boy.

In other news, it was announced that those who go into the office have to stay 6 feet apart strictly at all times, including passing people in the hallway. Specifically, you are not allowed to pass people in the hallway. Only one person is allowed in the bathroom, period. They will have to move people out of the call center because they can't literally provide 6 feet of space at all times in it.

Last night I emailed yet another Sarah--this one being one of the Robin Hood script writers, I believe she did the parody lyrics?*--after she sent me sheet music for the songs in the show and I was all "uh, I have no idea how one sings notes in singing." I played violin and god knows I've heard The Sound Of Music, but how one translates that into sheet music, I do not know. Her response to this was, "Your talent is in expression so don't worry about sheet music." Well, suddenly that explains everything about karaoke and why I had fans over there. It's a shame this Sarah never got to see me doing karaoke.

* May have to be nicknamed Brunette Sarah since so far she's the first one who hasn't been blonde or blonde at some point.

I went on Eventbrite again today and discovered "Movie Night at the SETI Institute," screening "Mercury 13," at Netflix documentary about women who were "tested, not trained" for the space program, and then were of course rejected because they were women and would get married and have periods and things like that. They had one of the women in the program/documentary, Gene Nora Jessen, on the phone talking about how she got into flying when someone told her she was a natural at it, and that's all she wanted to do. They had short male pilots and someone thought "why not try women?" Of course none of them were test pilots for the military like NASA wanted. "We were not TRAINED for anything. We were TESTED." 13 passed. "We were never told we were in astronaut training. We were taking astronaut tests." She quit her university job because they wouldn't let her off for 2 weeks during busy season to do this.

However, at this point Loretta called, so I ended up not being able to watch much of the movie or the presentation afterwards because I was distracted. It was great. She's having a lot of the same experiences as I am living alone. Not going out very often, either getting deliveries or going to Trader Joe's when they are barely open and empty. She's seen a few people at a distance (Dawn included a few times, I guess Dawn got some stuff one day and took Loretta to the dentist on another day) but that's about it. Her sister and nephew in Florida are living like like normal like nothing's happening, how are they not getting it? She said it would figure that she'd get it and they somehow don't and I was all, "Murphy's Law, yeah." She's had to have repair people in but was able to avoid them, she quarantines the food and/or washes it off, etc. We're both baffled as to how people living life like usual are somehow still fine. I mentioned crying all the time and she said she does it too. We're both surprised at what people we hear back from and which we do not. She said she was trying not to contact me because I was still working and I said no, go ahead and contact me! I'm just happy to hear from anyone, you know? Let's not lose touch under shitty circumstances.

On a related note, I saw this xkcd comic and it is just perfect. ""Is this social interaction good enough that it's worth risking our lives and the lives of others?!" "I don't know!" EXACTLY.

After that, I loaded up the documentary on Netflix to finish it off, and per talking about baking with Loretta, decided to make some snickerdoodles. I haven't made those since I lived at home with Mom, I think. I made 12 huge cookies instead of a bunch of little ones--one of the conversational points with Loretta was about baking when you can't eat all the baked goods yourself but can't hand them off to others either. Super lopsided, but what do I care. I just care about coating them in as much cinnamon as possible, because storebought ones always suck because they hardly have any cinnamon on them. I rolled them all in it around 4 times and then sprinkled what was leftover on top.

Back to the movie: Dr. Randolph Lovelace got the bright idea to invite women pilots to go through astronaut tests circa 1959, after they heard that the Russians were going to start training women cosmonauts.. However, none of the ladies had any of the qualifications that were asked for (in men). So they were given HUUUUUUUUUUGE amounts of very personal exams. "Some of them were not real friendly to the body. Some of them were kind of exotic." One lady had no idea what they meant by asking for "stool." Even worse: "I'll tell you very confidentially, don't tell anyone this,* we had an enema every morning." They would inject cold water into your ears that made you lose control all over your body, a few said. Another one just tried to laugh at it all and said that none of them stood out all that much.

* In a documentary?!?!

13 women were passed, but not the "First Lady of Aviation," Jacqueline Cochran. Bummer.

Round two of testing was psychological. They were told to float as long as possible.... and then were somehow numbed in the sensory deprivation chamber. Men hated it, women found it relaxing! One lady stayed in for 9.5 hours, but said some start hallucinating after three hours. They had the water heated to their exact body temperature to numb them out. "This is what they thought space travel would be like."

But just as the ladies were about to start phase 3 in Florida, NASA found out about it (no, they didn't know) and shut the whole thing down. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. Dr. Lovelace took the results to Washington and was told, "We have no need for women astronauts. Forget it." You'd think the documentary would end there, but somehow it does not, because "Janey Hart had clout" after her husband becomes a politician.

Janey Hart is all, "Well, I've raised 8 children, gotten in 2000 hours of flight time and helped my husband with his political campaign, so clearly I've made good use of my time." (I paraphrased that.) "The idea of going to space was not that great a challenge" after all of them, her son said. And someone else quoted her as saying, "With eight kids, you'd want to go to the moon too." But of course the requirements are that everyone be test pilots and women weren't allowed to make that qualification. "Eisenhower had a law put in that for women to fly military aircraft, they had to be men."

I love how Lovelace's daughter was all, in a tone of ugh, "John Glenn was not a favorite in our household." (It was mentioned earlier that her dad would have all the astronauts to dinner and Scott Carpenter was everyone's favorite.) It's cited that it's a waste of money to take women in "because you lose them through marriage." Who said that? Oh, Jacqueline Cochran, wtf?!?! Vengeance, I assume. Lyndon B. Johnson canceled the program and the Russians send a woman into space.

The documentary has a doctored moon shot where two women are talking about being first on the moon and doctoring their names into welcome home banners. Then it finally focuses on the female astronauts who did get to make it. Eileen Collins got to be in the first military test program in 1976. In a speech in front of the Clintons, she thanks the women who came before her and invited the Mercury 13 to her launch....and then NASA put them on the VIP list.

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