Once, I was excited about the solar eclipse. Now, it’s kind of a nightmare.
If you’d asked me about the solar eclipse a year ago, I would have been stoked to tell you that on August 21, 2017, Nashville will be in the eclipse’s path of totality — meaning we’re going to have nearly two minutes of total darkness here in the city. The last time this happened in Nashville was five hundred years ago! Totally cool, right?
The eclipse is now a week away and I’m completely stressed out. For the last couple of months, the eclipse is is all anyone around here has been talking about and I feel more pressure to see and do something incredible while it’s happening than I did planning my own damn wedding. At first, I thought I could handle it — I made plans to take the kids a few hours away to a beautiful state park, where a day-long celebration is happening and the totality time is close to three minutes. All was well until I was informed a couple of weeks ago that the solar eclipse is going to cause a traffic nightmare the likes of which mankind has never seen.
Suddenly, my visions of ULTIMATE SOLAR ECLIPSE CELEBRATION were replaced with a more terrifying scenario of finding myself permanently parked on an interstate in a Walking Dead-style trafficalypse, while the sun slips behind the moon and my kids cry in the backseat because I completely ruined their one and only chance to see a total eclipse of the sun.
Okay, then. We’d watch it from right here in Nashville. Their school is holding classes that day, and families are invited to come and watch the eclipse with their kids. Great plan, right? NOPE.
According to the maps, my part of town is right on the border of totality. From what I can gather, this means some areas of my neighborhood will see totality, and others won’t. Do you think I’m going to risk it when I can drive 30 minutes and be well within totality boundaries and have a full additional minute of darkness? I believe my decision here is clear.
The kids will be skipping some school.
And this leads to more stress. My kids are now missing a day of school, and I’m pretty sure their absences will be unexcused, leading to zeros on their final transcripts and therapy sessions, bad tattoos, and jail time in their futures. Dammit.
Plus? We’re back to our original problem. Where will we even go? Because Traffic.
I spent several days racking my brain for every backcountry, barely-maintained, sparsely populated country lane near our house that I could think of and finally came upon a top-secret, undisclosed location that we can get to on incredibly remote roads and celebrate the eclipse with a few thousand others. That’s the plan at this point, and I don’t think I can come up with a better one — unless someone has a helicopter I can borrow.
Even so, you can bet I’ll be packing lots of extra food and waters and getting a full tank of gas and a whole bunch of groceries the day before, since there are actual warnings of gas and food shortages here on Eclipse Day. Because when the sun goes behind the moon, you’d best have plenty of bread, milk, and eggs on hand, y’all.
And guess what? We are still just at the beginning of my list of Eclipse Problems.
I realized a while back that eclipse glasses would probably be in short supply as the date approached. Wisely, I bought my glasses months ago. FROM AMAZON.
I’m pretty sure you know what happened next:
I got a refund for my glasses — but at this point, certified glasses are nowhere to be found. We snatched up four of the last 50 pairs at our local ACE Hardware this morning, only to find that they weren’t from a NASA-approved manufacturer, either. However, they do have the ISO certification number and a manufacturer’s address in Missouri, unlike my Made-in-China specials from Amazon. I’m just going to risk it. But that’s stressful, right? I mean, will my kids’ eyeballs be scarred forever by the sun? Will they have to get bifocals as teenagers? And will it be ALL MY FAULT, just like everything else that goes wrong in their lives lately?
And that’s not even all.
The eclipse is expected to cause massive power outages across the country. Maybe. I don’t really have time to actually read these kinds of articles; all I know is that the headlines are freaking me out. Because massive power outages often lead to pillaging and looting and utter mayhem — which leads me to wonder if I’m going to be subjecting my precious children to two minutes of utter chaos, as normally law-abiding citizens run around in complete darkness doing things they’d never dare to do by the light of the sun.
Also? According to HEADLINES, the eclipse is going to make animals go completely nuts as well. So in addition to millions of people running around groping body parts and snatching purses for two minutes, I’m pretty sure we’re going to be trampled by a herd of marauding deer, chipmunks, and coyotes who are inexplicably and very temporarily working together against humankind because TOTAL ECLIPSE.
Then there are the shadow snakes.
No. I’m not kidding. According to people who know, a total eclipse causes shadow snakes to writhe on the ground. Scientists aren’t sure why it happens, but I’m betting it’s because a hellmouth is opening somewhere nearby– which means that in addition to looters and pillagers, stampeding deer, chipmunks, and coyotes, and shadow snakes, I’m also going to have to defend my family against demons. IN THE DARK.
Some solar eclipse this is turning out to be.
But wait. There’s more.
It might rain. And that would be Mother Nature’s ultimate #suckit.
Basically, I can’t wait for the solar eclipse to be over, so that I can get on with my life– or what’s left of it after I’ve burned my kids’ retinas and ruined their lives, gotten tased by a truancy officer, been groped and looted in the dark by what appeared to be a roving band of librarians, trampled by deer, chipmunks, and coyotes, attacked by demons and shadow snakes, faced a food and gas shortage, and gotten stuck in an epic trafficalypse in a city that is now off-grid for the foreseeable future.
Pray for us.
Header image via David Paleino/Flickr Creative Commons