Now I know that we are all still bummed over the tragic end to poor Comet Ison. It was predicted to be the comet of the century.
(Never mind the most famous comet, Halley, which will make its 76 year revisit near Earth in 2061!)
Although disappointing to have lost comet Ison; the truth is that astronomy and sky watching publications did not create much hype over it. In fact, more spotlight was given to a visible comet that is already in our predawn sky: Comet Lovejoy. Ison was considered merely a "rival" to Lovejoy that would add to the celestial, predawn display.
Are you aware of Comet Lovejoy? If not, allow me to titillate you with this equally spectacular comet that is guaranteed not to disintegrate in the sun like its so-called "rival" did.
It's best to get out of bed and step outside a few hours before sunrise to see Lovejoy. Publications cite that the comet can be seen just after sunset in the later part of December. But you better have a clear shot of the horizon. Aside from that, it's always best to view planetary objects when they are highest in the sky. This ensures that there is no atmospheric bending of light which occurs in the lower horizon.
I have created the map, below, with Lovejoy's predicted path throughout the month of December. But don't hold off in getting out there. By the time you read this article on Wednesday morning, December 4th, I'll be outside (sky permitting) in hopes to catch a glimpse. Just look for the handle of the Big Dipper and follow it towards the direction of where Comet Lovejoy is supposed to be on the map. Look for the noteworthy appearance of a comet which can be a diffused patch of light. In binoculars or telescope, astronomers are reporting that the nucleus and tail can be seen.
Today's featured writing is a short story that addresses the condition of elevator vertigo. Hopefully you don't experience what the unfortunate character in this story experiences!
Sally exited her impressive Cadillac Escalade dressed in professional business attire to include dark slacks, high heeled shoes, and a matching blazer over a conservative blouse. On her shoulder she carried a bag with necessary items needed for the day. It was 8:51 am, and she was in the parking lot of her place of employment. This morning was an important meeting with a group of clients who had traveled all the way from England.
So sexy and confident, Sally appeared, as her high heels clicked along the asphalt. Oh, I suppose the round sunglasses added a note of coolness to those who saw her. But in truth, the closer Sally approached the twenty story office building, the less and less cool she felt. Sally's heart beat accelerated upon the sudden feeling of anxiety. Should she take the stairs to her floor to avoid another unpleasant attack of elevator vertigo? With clients visiting, elevator vertigo could seriously disrupt the morning. It was an episode that Sally couldn't afford.
What is elevator vertigo? It's a condition in which a rider of an elevator gets off on his or her floor and immediately experiences the sensation of either falling or sometimes bouncing up and down. Currently there are no medical explanations for this phenomenon, but it is unpleasant. In extreme cases; elevator vertigo can cause confusion, panic and feelings of near fainting.
As Sally entered the main lobby, she decided on risking it by taking the elevator. This was not a morning to climb eleven flights of stairs. The clients were most-likely already in the office; and really, Sally should have been there earlier to meet them. Traffic back-ups can certainly cause delays for people!
She pressed the button going up, and immediately the doors flashed open. It was as-if the elevator was waiting just for her, and opened its mouth to devour another helpless victim.
The button for floor 11 was pressed; the doors slammed shut; and the car shot off like a rocket to reach its destination. Sally learned that if she stood thin, straight and stretched out; she wouldn't experience such a violent episode of vertigo, afterwards. This is what she did while nearly holding her breath.
The lights illuminated as the car passed each floor. 7... 8... 9... 10... 11... "DING!" The doors flashed open.
Sally carefully walked out and head in the direction of her office suite.
"Oh, here she is!" announced the receptionist. "Sally is here!"
Sally's boss, Fredrick, rushed over to the front desk to meet her as she entered the office suite. "Aren't you a little late?" he asked. "They've been her for nearly a half hour."
"Sorry about that." apologized Sally. "There was an accident on the road and a bit of a back-up."
Fredrick said nothing, and quickly escorted his somewhat-tardy employee into the main office. While approaching the conference room, Sally could see three men dressed in business suits. They stood up and quickly fixed their jackets as she approached and entered.
"Well hello, Sally!" greeted one of them. "I'm Josh Evans. We've been speaking on the phone for a few weeks." He held out his hand in a motion to shake.
Sally accepted the handshake and smiled; but suddenly felt the unpleasant, yet, familiar sensation of bouncing up and down like a basketball. It was safe to conclude that the evil elevator had hexed Sally with another bad spell of vertigo!
"remain still… remain still..." Sally thought to herself. Upon researching vertigo, online, she learned that standing still was the only way to force the dizziness to subside. "I'm Sally. Nice to meet you, finally." Her head continued to feel as if bouncing up and down from the ceiling to floor. To make matters worse, the bounce increased in speed—faster and faster and faster!
One of the other men stepped over while smiling. "I'm Robert Walker, sales director of our European market."
Sally was so numb and confused in the moment from the ever increasing vertigo. She wasn't even sure as to which hand to hold out.
Sally's boss, Fredrick, gave her a strange look upon noticing the apparent confusion. Did his employee even know how to meet clients and shake hands?
"And I'm William Wright! Nice to meet you, Sally!" said the third man while approaching and holding out his hand.
This time, Sally didn't exhibit any confusion in shaking hands. But the vertigo continued to get all the more worse. Sounds and voices had nearly an echo. And now Sally felt like she was suspended in a horizontal position while bouncing rapidly from wall to wall.
"Are you okay, Sally?" said a voice from the conference table." It was the first time Sally noticed that there were other people in the room—a few coworkers that Sally worked with each day.
"I'm fine... just a little late..." Sally couldn't allow this to happen! She could not let a spell of elevator vertigo ruin a business meeting and possibly her reputation.
"Well you look like you are about to get sick." said another coworker. "You're pale with blue lips!"
Now close to passing out, Sally had to escape. Perhaps if she briefly excused herself. "Would you mind if I run to the restroom really quick?"
"Of course not!" reassured Josh Evans—one of the visiting client from England. "We've got all day. Our plane doesn't depart until midmorning, tomorrow.”
Sally dropped her bag on the floor, but then realized how clumsy it looked. She picked it up, and then set it on a nearby table that had coffee and doughnuts for meeting attendees. But that didn't look right! Sally then snatched the bag away from the coffee and doughnuts and staggered around the conference table to an empty seat where she dropped it on the chair.
Her boss, Fredrick, watched in disbelief and gave Sally a look of disapproval. What in the world was wrong with her this morning?
By the time Sally reached the front office and out of the view of those in the conference room, she staggered and zigzagged like a drunk who finished a bottle of booze. She was oblivious to the receptionist who called out with concern. How Sally made it to the doorway and successfully opened it was nothing short of amazing. If she could make it to the restroom and into a stall, it would be nothing short of a miracle!
The next thing Sally remembered was sitting on the toilet with her slacks pulled up. She must have somehow found her way there while on the brink of passing out. Everything was now black around her with the continued feeling of eternally falling. The nausea certainly didn't help matters, either.
Just then, the restroom door opened and a voice of one of Sally’s female coworkers called out. "Sally? Are you okay in there?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm just finishing up."
"Okay, but try to hurry up. Just to let you know; Fredrick is not happy."
"I know; I'm sorry..."
The sound of the door closing could be heard. Sally was, once again, alone. But the dizziness and nausea continued. The last time Sally experienced this much relentless vertigo; a trip to the ground level where she sat outside on the grass seemed to immediately cure it. It was a strange cure with no explanation, but it really did work.
This is what Sally decided to do. Still dizzy and nauseous with barely any eyesight, she stood up and emerged from the stall, staggered out of the restroom and down the hallway. Where-as the elevator was Sally's enemy not more than fifteen minutes ago, it was now a hero that could quickly bring her to ground level. The button going down was pressed, and Sally waited several seconds.
"DING!" The doors flashed open and in stepped Sally.
"Wait!" The voice of Sally's boss could be heard after she pressed the button for ground level. Apparently he wanted to know where she was going. But it was too late. The doors slammed shut and the car rapidly descended to its destination.
Suddenly, the car stopped at the 7th floor—an abrupt halt that would surely aggravate Sally's elevator vertigo. In stepped an alarming individual who wore a hoody sweatshirt with hood actually covering the head. A scarf covered the individual's face, and dark sunglasses masked the eyes. It wasn't the sort of appearing person that one would want to be alone with on an elevator.
As the door slammed shut; the individual, a male, quickly unveiled himself—hood, sunglasses and scarf. There were good reasons for masking himself. You see, what remained of rotting flesh on his face was covered with infected sores and pus. His eyeballs were bloody red with warped pupils that had apparently been eaten away by some strange bacteria or fungus. The stranger opened his mouth to speak; and blood gurgled out before rotting, gangly teeth with black and rotten gums could be seen. His lips were full of nasty sores and his tongue appeared terribly swollen and irritated.
"I have hoof and mouth disease!" declared a gurgly voice. His breath possessed the most foul stench. "I need you to help me. Kiss me! Please kiss me!"
As the car continued to descend to the lower level, the stranger moved closer, grabbed Sally and pulled her in.
Sally screamed and fought with the horrific-looking stranger who tried with all his might to kiss her.
"Kiss me! Kiss me!" the gurgly voice demanded as blood and puss ran down from his lips.
Sally couldn't believe it! The stranger succeeded in touching his horrific lips to hers in an unwanted kiss; even slipped his tongue in her mouth which nearly caused vomiting.
Sally was found lying unconscious on the floor of the elevator. She never made it outside to the grass to cure her vertigo.