Ten Ways to Enjoy the Eclipse Without Actually Looking at It
In case you haven't heard; the sun is going to go out. For a few minutes anyway. On August 21, a small sliver of geography arcing its way across the continental United States will become totally dark as we experience the first full solar coast-to-coast eclipse in nearly 100 years. Total eclipses are not a super rare global occurrence, it happens often just, not in our neck of the woods. It isn't like the sky will start raining money following the two or so minutes of eclipse totality, but if you look at many people's plans you would think that they believe it will.
Americans are set to flock to the path of the eclipse, swamping small towns along the route and overwhelming local infrastructure. And no doubt leaving behind a signifiant amount of trash and the carbon footprint of Sasquatch. It is like a brief, roaming version of Woodstock. But what if you don't care? After all, the crux of it is that the moon gets in the way of the sun for a few minutes. Big deal. The sun gets the celestial equivalent of getting cut off in traffic and everyone wants to watch. Not you though. The crowds, the hype, the traffic...all for a show that lasts less than thirty minutes? The good news is, while all of those saps are gawking at the sky and frying their retinas, you can take advantage. Here is a list of ten recommendations of how you can celebrate the eclipse by not actually joining the madness.
Watch your dog. There is a slew of speculation as to how the animal world will react to a brief darkness occurring during the middle of the day. Many species in the animal kingdom are sensitive to changes in global irregularities, and researchers are sure to be observing them to detail how they react.
Your dog is your best friend. With you through thick, thin and celestial oddities. Dogs are creatures of habit and chances are you know exactly what Fido will be doing the time of day that our dark friend in the sky is supposed to appear. You can help scientists study animal/eclipse behavior by downloading an app created by the California Academy of Sciences. The app will allow you take pictures and record before, during and after behaviors of your canine companion.
Go to the post office. Life is full of mundane tasks. Going to the post office to mail a package or certified letter is perhaps one of most boring and procrastinated chores one can face. Any trip to the post office is a lesson in why the government should not be allowed to run anything. Its only rival in frustration and time wasting is a trip to the DMV.
It isn't that the post office is not good at getting a letter to a far flung destination in a timely manner; they are. The fly in the ointment is getting your letter or package from you, across the counter and into the shipping bin. Postal workers move like they are submerged in molasses and you will inevitably get behind one or two people in the looooong line that know absolutely nothing about what they are doing and need ten minutes of help. Guess what those clueless dolts and everyone else will be doing during the eclipse? Not going to the post office. This is your chance to hoard all of your postal tasks for one quick, efficient and pleasant trip to mail something. Enjoy it. It will be the only time it will occur in your lifetime.
Take a nap. While everyone at the office is crowded in like sardines in the courtyard or parking lot to take in the eclipse, you could put that time to good use by creating your own personal mini eclipse; in the form of a nap. If there are windows or skylights in your workspace it will be darker inside, the perfect time to put your head on the desk and get a little shuteye.
And you can do it guilt free. Studies have shown that taking a brief nap can make workers more productive. And it is the ideal cure for work time drowsiness. One study compared getting extra sleep, caffeine intake and taking a nap for solutions to stem workplace sleepiness. Naps won. And better yet, the most beneficial naps last about thirty minutes, the same amount of time the eclipse process is supposed to elapse. So while your coworkers are gawking at the sky, take a little nappy-poo and reap the benefits of your one day splurge or extra productivity. It just might get your a raise or promotion. Then again, you could be caught napping and get fired. What's life without a little risk?
Test your dusk to dawn light. If you have a security light at home that clicks on as the sun is setting, you likely have never been around when it turns on or off. It makes you wonder just how dark does it have to be for it to snap on, or the level of daylight for it so call it a night and shut off. Chances are you have expended the entertainment value of sitting on the porch and watching your bug zapper fry flying pests. Now you can bring bump up that style of fun to an entire new level.
Ask your boss for a nightshift differential. Everyone could use a little extra cash in their lives. The national average of extra pay for working the nightshift is around ten percent. Feel lucky you don't actually work the nightshift because, frankly, it sucks. Everyone else in your life is on a different schedule than you, including businesses you frequent. Ever go into a bar at 9:00 am? Yeah, me neither.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be compensated for working what is technically nighttime. The sun will be out of the picture for at least a few minutes. That is plenty of ammunition for an argument for one day's worth of nightshift differential. If you boss refuses, call his bluff and demand that both of you visit human resources to work it out. You might find yourself the workplace hero if they decide everyone deserves the brief bump on pay, or perhaps, unemployed.
Eat at the workplace cafeteria. Lunchtime can be trying for any employee. You probably don't want to be around most of those folks anyway. And eating lunch with them can be downright annoying. The idle gossip, gross eating habits, smells of strange dishes, and the crowd.
Do yourself a favor and take lunch a little early on the day of the eclipse. If your place of employment has a cafeteria, it will be devoid of coworkers as they feast on upon the solar spectacle. For once, the vending machine is unlikely to be out of change, and you can enjoy one day of eating in splendid solitude.
Take a break in the shade. If you are not at work, chances are you will be doing some chores around the house. There is an even greater chance that those tasks include some sort of outdoor activity like mowing the lawn or pulling weeds. In the sweltering August heat, even the smallest of yard work endeavors can leave you sweaty and drained.
The eclipse is the perfect time to take a break from lawn care, gardening or other arduous outdoor tasks. With the sun completely or partially blocked out, the moon becomes one gigantic celestial shade tree. Sit back, prop up against a tree trunk, sip a lemonade and enjoy the momentary coolness of a sunless day.
Skinny dip in your hot tub. Normally, soaking naked in the water is a nocturnal activity. The darkness keeps your neighbors from seeing you in the nude. It's a win-win scenario; you don't get arrested for parading around in the buff, and they don't have to see you in your birthday suit.
During the time that the sky is black, you can enjoy soaking in your hot tub without the fear that someone will see you naked and tell you that you need to hit the gym...hard.
Listen to the police scanner. The vast majority of the United States will be able to view at least a portion of the eclipse. Many of those folks will be driving while it happens. Distracted driving is already a major contributor to car crashes, and many of those behind the wheel will be craning their necks in directions that does not include watching the road. Traffic accidents will spike.
While no one like to see anyone involved in a vehicular accident, it will be entertaining to listen to a police scanner and note just how many were foolish enough to not pull off to the side of the road to catch a glimpse of the eclipse. And you can bask in the knowledge of just how smart you were to stay indoors.
Call out the doomsday predictors. Not a celestial event goes by that some crackpot says that it signals the end of the earth. With this eclipse being a once in a lifetime event, there is no shortage of doomsday predictions. Forget that total eclipses happen fairly often, just not near us, these loonies can't let a solar blackout go to waste. Be it biblical or other, tales of woe and doom abound. It's the Y2K of outer space. And if there really was a once in a lifetime signal that the earth was ending, it was the Cubs winning the World Series.
Most reasonable people realize that the eclipse is just a solar oddity to be enjoyed. For those that latch onto every conspiracy theory out there from the JFK assassination to William Shatner actually having his own hair, they will undoubtedly tell you to prepare for the end of days. This is your chance to extend your own personal eclipse fun by calling those who make such predictions and ask them what happened. Why are you here? Why is the earth still in one piece? Call them everyday until either they admit they were hoodwinked or the fun factor fades.
Own the sky, without the traffic, madness and inconvenience of actually gawking at the eclipse.