Sunday, December 30, 2007

Back on earth again.....

"This certifies," says the piece of paper, "that JEANNE ROBINSON has defied gravity, communed with floating objects, levitated, and otherwise successfully completed the zero-gee weightless experience."  

Damn right.

We're back, safe and sound, but exhausted.   Jim will be spending the next few hours looking over the video footage; it'll be a while before we have something to post.  But in the meantime, he did show me the edited version of yesterday's tech rehearsal, and with any luck he'll post it soon.  

As for me, I'm just getting over the disorientation they told us would typically happen.  I may have it worse than my two companions--because I was also more troubled by airsickness than they were.  Which might have been the byproduct of all the things I was trying to do at once in order to help Kathleen, combined with my own excitement.

Things were a bit more chaotic than we'd expected--a lot of our plans went right out the window in the first few weightless arcs.  But we'd anticipated that, and were able to just do what we could and adapt as well as possible to circumstances.

Kathleen said the tendency to drift changed everything.  You never knew whether you were liable to find yourself moving left, right, up or down, or some combination thereof.  In her next breath, she said she looks forward to working with this more, now that she's had some experience of it and knows what to expect.  It's a challenge, but one she found enjoyable. Dancers love physical challenges.

The first few arcs we just enjoyed ourselves, and I had the greatest of times imaginable.  After that, I was just so busy I barely had time to register how I was feeling.  

We both agreed we wished each arc could be about three times as long.  No wonder the APOLLO 13 film crew had to go through 1500 of those arcs, just to get the few minutes of real zero gee seen in the movie.  

The Zero-G Corporation folks MORE than accommodated us--they went miles out of their way to help us and adapt to our special needs.  To start they surprisingly cut back the numbers in our section.  In addition to the 3 of us, there were only 4 others in the Gold Section, who were all very respectful of our needs.  I'm more grateful to the staff than I can say, especially our personal Coach, Chace, and JT, a newcomer to the staff, who held the light for us through each arc.  They were all superb at what they do, from Guest Services Manager Phil Clark to the pilot to the folks who gave us the standard airport TSA "wand" search before boarding.

Upon return we all were taken to a "Re-gravitation Party" complete with a champagne toast.  It gave us all a chance to share our experiences....and also to begin to come out of that disorientation I mentioned earlier.  Each of us got to keep our Zero-Go flight suit, duffel bag, a t-shirt, and a framed 8X10 photo of our whole flight team, with the certificate attesting to our flight mentioned above.  And a dvd which includes both video and stills will be sent to us later.

In mid-flight, by the way, one young man topped all great-memory moments by tossing his partner a diamond ring and asking her to marry him.  Fortunately she said yes, so gravity probably has not returned to him YET.  (She told me later she had been wondering why he was so uncharacteristically nervous before we lifted....)  

It couldn't have been a more breathtaking and memorable experience--everything I imagined and more, and as you know, I've been imagining this for decades.  My deepest thanks go to Dr. Peter Diamandis, without whom I'd still be at home imagining it instead of remembering it. We found everything about Zero-G Corporation's operation to be impeccable.  

I hope some of you readers will get the chance to enjoy the Zero-G experience yourselves.

And now I'm going to rest.  Oddly tiring, floating....



Jessica said...

We did an awesome meditation for you sitting in front of the Big Picture at the magnificent Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, then we danced and spun until they asked us (very politely) to desist.

On the walk up we listened to Spider's podcast reading of Stardance. I can't tell you how tickled we were by the whole thing. You're one of the VERY few people I'd give up my seat for, Jeanne. Fortunately this will not prove necessary. I'm starting a savings account today!

If you're looking for something else to do while you're stuck in Vegas - (I guess all forms of public entertainment have been completely and forever topped, but...)The Cirque Du Soleil Show Mystere has some really awesome flying dance moments.

Ever higher!

Jeanne Robinson said...

Thanks, Jessica. Ever higher, indeed!

And we're off to see a Cirque performance later tonight. Two minds with a single thought...

Warm, happy smiles,

kittent said...

welcome back...i'm so glad you got to fly.



Jessica said...

All of the Cirque shows in Vegas are terrific. They're the only reason I ever go there.

Here is an interactive page for the Big Picture, where we sat for you today. It's hard to believe that all those little dots are GALAXIES! Play with it later, though. Right now you have better things to do!

Nobody I've ever heard of deserves to get to play and make art in it more than you do.

If it wasn't for you guys we wouldn't be us.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Glad things went so well.

-Ari from Boston