Challenger blew up 30 years ago last month … a moment most Americans remember like it was yesterday. Assigned to cover the story, it was an opportunity to make my mark on history, but in the end, it was more that the shuttle that crashed that day. Let’s just say it wasn’t my finest hour in journalism!
Challenging story …
Back in January 1986, I was working in radio, and ho hum, I’d been lumbered with another shuttle launch.
Most of the networks weren’t even covering it, and the lack of excitement was palpable – even for a true science nerd like me.
It was lunch time, or close to it, so I slipped out of the studio and went to a local for a quick burger and beer. I’d mention the launch on the noon newscast. Adding civilians – a teacher – to the mix had upped the interest level a bit.
As I sat at the bar, the bartender had the TV on and I was watching the CNN coverage. And then came the moment: “Obviously a major malfunction …”
I ran back to the studio.
By any other name
Today I’m remaining at the bar on a beach somewhere far to the south of Denmark’s ‘dejlig’ 3-degree temperatures and endless grey, rainy curtain.
This is only the second time in my quarter of a century living in the little kingdom that I have taken a winter holiday. Honestly, I don’t think I do holidays well. My multicultural background makes travelling with me a bit of a strain.
For example: is this a ‘holiday’ or a ‘vacation’? The American in me says one thing, and the Irish and quasi-Dane says another.
Meanwhile, my Germanic side insists on order. If the pool is supposed to open at 9am, I expect it to be open at 9am. Not one damn moment before or after. But the unreconstructed redneck in me wants to climb the fence, hand you my beer and say: “Hey Bubba! Watch this!”
I have absolutely no problem being in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a hand-drawn map and some trail mix, but put me on a package tour with an itinerary and planes and coaches to catch, and I live in constant fear of missing a connection along the way and being found years later drooling and babbling nonsense in several languages in a Las Palmas alley.
Towers of non-Babel
Speaking of languages, it’s a bit disconcerting to fly five hours and still be surrounded by people speaking mostly Danish. If all of these people are here, why was the train was so crowded when you went to work this cold, grey morning?
Perhaps you can research that from your end. Me, I’m bit busy.
As I said, I don’t do holidays especially well, so I’m practising by sitting in the sun by the ocean and having a glass of champagne with breakfast.
It’s 9am. And it’s 20 degrees … in February. I think if I apply myself and work very hard, I can learn how to do this.