GateHouse — Like most humans of both the small and grownup variety, my older son tends to save his more pressing philosophical, scientific and spiritual questions for the end of bedtime, after the books have been read and the teeth have been brushed and the lights have been turned out, when there’s nothing left to do but think and stare at the ceiling — or, in his case, the structurally insecure-looking underside of the top bunk bed. (It’s fine, it’s fine, it just has a few alarming-looking cracks and some duct tape and it makes this creaking noise when you touch or make eye contact with it.)
Well, that’s not quite all: There’s also the matter of turning on the fan next to his bed, then turning off the oscillating function so it points 35 mph winds straight at his face, then moving the fan closer because he can’t “feel the breeze,” then moving the fan farther away because having a high-speed fan blade whizzing away two feet from your son’s face is generally frowned upon by the medical community, especially when said son sleeps like he receives a small-voltage electric shock every 20 seconds that causes him to fling his arms like he’s trying to hail a Manhattan taxi. Oh THEN there’s the locating of three stuffed cats, one stuffed dog and one very old blue blanket that’s less “blue blanket” and more “a kind of trapezoidal-shaped assemblage of yarn.” There’s also the assurance that yes, I’ll go turn on the air conditioner right now, yes, I heard you. There’s also the assurance that whatever he wants to tell me about Minecraft can most certainly wait until morning. (Or never, because as much as I love my son, his stories about whatever Minecraft is are boring enough to make me want to start re-knitting the blue blanket.)
But once that’s all done, once we’ve completed the 105-minute pre-bedtime routine, that’s when the questions begin. And that’s when, last week, the talk turned to space.