Who to interview? I had started trying to interview people at the mall. Going up to random shoppers felt odd. But there were people working a kiosks that were trying to get people’s attention. Syed was one of them. I think his was glasses.
Syed would prefer to go some place different. “We have already been to the moon. We should invest those resources into something else.” I started to probe his position and he became a little defensive “I’m not a fan of astronomy. If you go into the nitty gritty, then there might be some advantage but my point of view is that we should do something else.” And that is a valid point of view.
One thing I try not to do on these interviews is to make people feel defensive, embarrassed or questioned. My number one objective with these interviews is to try to make people feel understood or at least have them feel that they are trying to be understood.
Cornell and Jamal were in the neighborhood doing door to door marketing. They made a few interesting comments “We actually made it to the moon” (reference to the Apollo deniers I think). “Why did we stop going?” “cost” “I didn’t know that America had a problem with cost.”
It seems we have unlimited money for weapons, for jails, for police, for military, for stadiums, and the like. But it seems that we are limited when it comes to education, exploration, and science. Though we do spend a lot of money on these things.
But we in the US value conflict and winning. We do not necessarily value science, exploration, and discovery. Name some explorers. ok… Now name some rich people. Name some powerful people. Ok now try to name some smart people. Why are they smart.
I feel that no one will have trouble naming rich and powerful people. But will be challenged to name a scientist.
Last January I was attending Yoga weekly. I was interviewing a person each week. It took care of one of the days. It was neat to sit down and find out a little more about the people in the class. The previous week I interviewed Huong. The week before that Charlie. And in future weeks I would interview Karastin’s friend, and I think after that I went to the UK and then the lockdowns happened. How soon will we get back to normal?
It is interesting that Karastin does not want to travel to space. But I would find out over the course of the year that many people have a fear of going to space. Perhaps many of them their most vivid and direct space memories are of the Challenger blowing up in 1986 or the Columbia disintegrating over Texas in 2003.
Ejaz is a dear friend of mine. I knew him since the early 2000s at HP. He has invited us over for a number of his celebrations. And I also attended his mosque on the nights that his family was hosting the Ramadan dinner. When I was living in New Hampshire but trying to work here in Houston and needed a place to stay, he let me stay with him.
Ejaz is the type of person that you want to know. That I would like to strive to be. He is infinitely talented, patience, and generous. I do not think there is anything that Ejaz could not do.
It was late on a Monday and I hadn’t found anyone to interview. What to do? I called Ejaz, explained to him my project and he was more than willing to be interviewed. If I remember right, it was late at night. Probably after 9.
The biggest question that Ejaz had was why did we stop and why are we going back. NASA needs to do a better job at relating its activities to everyday people. I think the North Houston Space Society can help with this as well.
Another day. Need another person to interview. It was late in the day. A Sunday. Who to interview?
I had interviewed Mr. Rama Reddy’s grandson Karthik who had gone to school with my oldest son Stephen. They lived a couple of doors down. So we thought of going over to interview them.
Rama was willing.
What do you think about going to the moon?
“I’m not political.” “How will going to the moon increase our prosperity?” “Our technology is growing faster than our culture” these were the parts that stood out in my mind. And those are good questions that we need to answer.
Christa is my sister. She was coming over to see James, her son that was visiting us. Complicated story. It was late in the day. I had not found someone to interview. (What a reoccurring story)
Christa agreed. I appreciated her help. She was so happy and cheerful during the interview. She had several good points. About us returning to the moon. And I know that I probably try everyone around me with the constant space talk 24×7. Sometimes I feel like Don Quixote. His family was just as tired by the talk of chivalry.