Forrest Gump & The Fireball in the Sky


Sometimes I feel like Forrest Gump.  Remember the scenes in the movie that depicted him with presidents, winning ping-pong games that changed international relations and speaking in front of thousands of people at a major Vietnam War protest in Washington D.C? It was his karma to sort of find himself in the midst of important moments of history.   And last night I was Forrest.

Harry and I were driving home from McDonalds’s, ice cream cones in hand, heading east on Ventura Blvd when all of sudden a huge (Harry said it looked like the size of a refrigerator) fireball streaked across the sky and appeared to have made contact with the Earth somewhere in the hills of Sherman Oaks or Encino.  So instead of going home we decided (that’s how f***ing big it was) to see if we could find the spot the fireball landed.  We only drove a few blocks south into the hills.  There was nothing.  No sirens, no fire trucks screaming by, nada.  As we drove home, I searched the local news stations on the radio for any word on what we just saw.  Zilch.

The thing that struck me about what I had just seen was that it was clear it was on fire, it was big, and it’s trajectory across the sky was very low.  To be honest, at first I thought it was some small airplane that had exploded.  That’s why I call the West Valley Police Station (not 911) to ask if anyone else had reported the fireball in the sky.  To put it mildly, he treated me like someone whose perception of reality was not the same as the rest of the “normal” folks.  As soon as I realized this, I just said to the cop, “Well, OK then,” and I hung up.

Called a couple of local TV news stations.  They were on the story, but didn’t have a confirmation of what exactly it was; both stations said it is “probably” a meteor.  Both admitted to waiting for confirmation from the Jet Propulsion Lab and Griffith Park Observatory, respectively.

Then Evan’s wife came home and said people were Tweeting (another new verb) about it.  At least I felt validated, though not necessarily relieved.  So I obsessed about what I thought I saw until I went to bed.  After I dispensed with plane theory, I thought it might have been some secret missile test that went sour.  And while I haven’t totally abandoned that idea, I think it was most likely some piece of crap, probably a piece of a disintegrating satellite.  But that is too scary for most normal people.  So “they,” whoever they are, called it a meteor.  I gotta tell you, I am not scientist, but something about that idea doesn’t match up with my perception of what I saw and how I processed the experience.  As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I have a great internal “bullshit” meter and after reading the stories on the internet today about what I saw last night, the needle is in the red zone.

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