Yes, I saw him again. And this time was even better!
A Toronto bookstore hosted an Author's Brunch over at the King Edward Hotel. There were four authors (all lovely and the discussion of a different post) but we were here to see Chris Hadfield.
And he did not disappoint! (My iPhone's zoom, on the other hand...)
He was looking right at me!
While we were eating brunch, we could see him from his table. Obviously that meant the group of us taking pictures surreptitiously.
Me: I really only catch glimpses of his ear.
Sister: But what an ear!
Me: An ear that's been to space.
Anyhoodle, I recorded the audio of his speech for you and I even typed some of the best quotes for you because I'm just the best:
"… so I'm batting clean up here, I'm fourth. And I have to squeeze my talks somewhere between germs, hell and Perfection. Which leaves a little latitude, so I've decided to talk about enemas.
The day of launch is a particularly unique day for astronauts. It's not what you might expect. It's a day when something miraculous is going to happen.
And so the day that you wake up and think you're leaving the Earth, is… and it's been such a buildup and such a sense of gratification for such an emotional stalemate that you've struck with yourself, because you haven't allowed yourself to count on it. You haven't allowed yourself to truly believe that it's ever actually going to happen. Your life has gone from being someone who wants to and hopes to fly in space to someone who has realized the reality that the life that you're gonna have is the one that exists prior to that and you may very well never fly in space even on that last morning waking up. But at the same time, there's a little voice in the back of your head that's so excited "This is day you're going into space!", that little nine-year-old boy.
So it was with some consternation that I found myself lying on the bathroom floor, because one of the things we want to do launching for the Russian space station is going into this tiny little spaceship called the Soyuz, which is the 'basic' spaceship. If you're flipping through the manual of spaceships, before you get to the luxury models you get to the Soyuz. And it is similar toilet facilities on board. So to preclude two days of toilet usage, they want you to take, not just one, but two enemas before launch.
So there it is, the most glorious day of my life, that I have been dreaming of and visualizing with triumphant music and fanfare, perhaps fireworks, and adulation and I'm laying on a cold tile floor in Kazakhstan on my side, giving myself an enema. Something I don't do regularly.
And we had a choice of the Russian enema or the American Fleet enema, and I decided, I don't have a big experience base here, but I'm gonna choose the Fleet enema. I don't know how they chose the word Fleet, but laying at my side, cold, I advise you to warm up the water, and it takes time. It says on the package, allow 10 minutes to pass. So, I'm thinking, what do you do, laying on the floor waiting for the minutes to pass on the day that you're leaving Earth, so I thought 'I'll call my wife!"
So, I phoned Helena. (This is my lovely wife, Helena by the way. If you ever want to achieve anything in your life, marry Helena) So I was laying there and I called Helena "Hey, honey, how you doing?" "Oh I'm fine, whatcha up to?" "Oh nothing" and we're having a little conversation, she's talking about the kids, and how they're in Kazakhstan and it's December and there's all this stuff going on. And you know, I'm laying there. Unbeknownst to me, I'm flying into space with this guy named Tom, who is also lying on his tile floor in a very similar uncomfortable posture to my own, but unbeknownst to both of us was the Russians had saved a little bit of money in building their quarantine facility by connecting the two rooms with ducting along the floor. So now Tom is facing the moral dilemma of lying on the floor, listening to an intimate conversation between me and my wife, while both of us are getting enemas. He's a little bit torn: Do I tell them? Do I just stay quiet? Do I plug my ears? What do I do?"
A little bit about being strapped into the Soyuz:
They've been very thoughtful, they've got a note from your spouse, so I got a nice note from Helena, wishing me well, you know, "Don't die", that kind of thing, and then Helena had given him a kiss to give to me, which was a wonderfully nice gesture, but I'm thinking if I die during launch THIS has to be my last memory? A nice, mustached kiss on my forehead?
I highly recommend listening to the audio clip, it's only about 19 minutes and he has a great description on the launch sequence and how it feels. Oh! And check out his Movember video if you haven't. It's delightful!
Now, the most important part: how this relates to me. Well! At the end the author's were set up at tables and you could get your book signed. Unlike the previous signing, this one was a lot smaller and more flexible. So you could get different things signed, he would personalize it with your name, etc. Before I went to into line for Hadfield, I had the author of 'The Germ Code', Jason Tetro, sign my copy of his book. It's about our relationship with germs. It sounded interesting, so I picked up a copy while I was there.
My sister, her friend and I were together in the line for Hadfield. Friend had gotten a couple of book signed for her and her boyfriend. When it was my turn, Chris saw my (Slavic) name and went:
"[Russian pronunciation of my name]? Is that you?"
"Yup! That's me!"
(In Russian): "Oh! Do you speak Russian?" (I'm 99% that's what he said. Slavic languages are very close)
(In Slovenian): "Oh no, I speak Slovenian, not Russian."
I think I saw him do a little sadface. I think he really wanted to show of his Russian!
Anyway, he shook my hand, signed my (second) book, and let me take a picture with him!
My sister was next. She brought these mustache bookmarks for him to sign, and he totally did! She got him to pose with her:
Despite being on the road for what seems to be forever, it appears he is still not sick of us smelly masses begging for pictures! He is so, so nice.
Bonus! I did my nails for the occasion again. This time I drew a rocket on my nails! Well, supposedly a rocket. I have great ideas, but no skills...
I'd say my sister and I have an Astronaut problem, but is admiring a ridiculously cool Canadian astronaut really a problem?
Now, he said he moved to Toronto. Someone help me find his house.