Traffic was heavy around Disneyland however I scored a spot in a nearly empty post office parking lot just north of Downtown Disney. Bought stamps, mailed the bills, hung out in the cool air conditioning for a while and watched the lot fill up.
Ventured outside. An older gent was tailgating on his rust bucket pickup truck. I asked if I could join him. He explained that his wife was hanging out in the grass and pointed. I never saw her.
Hung out with him for about ten minutes. People were milling about and I approached a fellow flying solo. He offered up his card and I ran back to the car for mine. Upon discovering he was a California historian, a lively conversation on the history of Disneyland ensued.
A woman approached and expressed her excitement about the upcoming sighting. Her name was Judy and she had snuck out of work. I got the lowdown on her life in California plus her email address and later sent her a photo of the Endeavour.
Meanwhile, since the lot was now full, a car snuck in the exit of the lot and pulled up to the curb. A woman got out of a battered Honda sedan after rolling down the windows and cranking up the radio. Then she reached back in the car for her smokes; she would repeat this at least five times during the short time we were all brought together.
An antsy couple with a pre-teen boy wielding a large camcorder paced the lot.
The older gent with the pickup truck was shuffling back to his pickup to continue his tailgating and waiting.
Lots of people were out near the street at this time. Stepping into the sun for a moment to test the waters brought on immediate redness to my arms, despite wearing sunblock. Luckily, my hat shielded my face from resembling Mars. I immediately sought the shade from the building.
A guy wearing a menacing black helmet pulled up to the post office entrance in a low to the ground, possibly one-of-a-kind bicycle. He stood up slowly then walked with a severe limp and entered the post office.
Returning and slowly settling back into his ride, I asked him if he was going to stay and watch the Endeavor. He started to speak and drooled. After removing his mouth guard he looked directly at me, slurred a forceful “I don’t care!” and pedaled away.
More people arrived and parked their cars haphazardly.
Another update from the smoking woman. I sprinted back and said “Hey command central; what’s the update?”…she smiled and said “It’s over Pasadena!” and again I communicated the news via word-of-mouth.
About 40 minutes had gone by since my arrival there. And finally, it was very close to curtain time!
Standing in the sunshine with the sun behind me, I raised my Canon Rebel to the sky and took a practice shot just as a frantic voice bellowed “There it is!”
I could see one small speck and two teeny specks in the sky.
I was ready.
Those specks grew larger in seconds. People shrieked but I paid no attention to what they were doing as I gazed through the lens and kept my index finger busy.
Wow! Endeavor was directly overhead! Then past me as I swung my body around, not missing a beat!
Over the trees. Gone. I put my camera down. A woman dressed in screaming pink was next to me, her Canon Rebel at rest as well. She gazed at me camera, creating a bound between us as we high-fived, screaming as our hands slapped together in a resounding clap!
As things were winding down, I spoke with Taylor, the boy with the large camcorder. He showed me his footage. I left a card with his parents and suggested we exchange our media efforts.
While this historic flight sadly marks the end of the space shuttle program it certainly went out with a patriotic bang. It brought people together smiling with joy. Just briefly, nothing else mattered. I’m debating whether it was more fun to see the Endeavor for all of ten seconds or to join in the camaraderie of the people who took the time to witness history.
Future pop-culture and an experience I’ll never forget.
This marks the first time I’ve strayed from marketing in this blog. There’s always exception to the rules and sometimes there’s rules that need to be broken. So I'll break my own.
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