Then I opened one of the other six boxes, and there, inside, was this (NB: I strongly advise you to follow that link back there; it takes you to one of the best sources of mindless procrastination the world wide web has to offer; no actual plastics will be harmed). Yes, bubblewrap, item number three in my list of top ten all-time favourite inorganic materials.
I sat in a sea of boxes, popping my way through acres of bubblewrap, wondering how to organise things so that this kind of cultural endeavour gets to count as paid professional activity. And then I saw it, beyond the cardboard, beneath the layers of bubblewrap, my very own personal one of these:
Okay, not a duplicate of the Hubble, exactly, but an optical telescope, complete with lots of little lenses and a tripod and a screwdriver.
It's sitting right now in the middle of my loungroom (and I'm about to go out, so if ever you wanted to nick a telescope, now's your chance). It looks mighty flash in my loungeroom, but the opportunities for astronomy and the like are fairly limited. My options, as I see 'em, are these:
- Keep telescope in loungeroom. Could be good way to make friends. "Hey, want to come round some time and see my telescope?" definitely a line to sort the sheep from the goats. (Whatever that means. I quite like goats.)
- Keep telescope in fifth floor office at work. Spy on persons up-to-no-good on the lawns. This may be illegal, or just anti-social, although, as Penny says, a bit of civic-minded voyeurism never went awry.
- Take telescope to parents' new alpine chalet for use on customised viewing deck. This, in keeping with a long tradition of exploiting parents' capacity to store stuff. May help parents to practise civic-minded voyeurism too. Probably not entirely in parents' interests.