This evening, Dana and I met up with our friend Andres for dinner at a semi-new pasta joint in our neighborhood. We hadn't seen Andres for over a year.
Despite the increasingly frigid air, we decided to round out our meal with ice cream. It seemed like everyone around us was ordering it, so we joined in. As we took our final spoonfuls, an older man appeared at our table. He announced: "Come see the moon when you finish! I'm right over there." He pointed across the street. We smiled. He nodded, then continued his message down the other tables lining the sidewalk.
I'll admit, my first thoughts were I am freezing, I want to go home and be warm, why is this guy talking to us? Dana, on the other hand, was curious. Her thoughts? "He's a nice man. We should go."
While we waited for the check, we assessed the situation. Across the street was a serious-looking telescope. We watched as the man brought over a waitress, then a couple, then another couple. Maybe there was something to see?
After paying the bill, Dana, Andres, and I stood up from the table, looked at each other over our face masks, and together, declared: "Let's go see what's going on."
The telescope operator's name was Joe. When we walked over, he was chatting with a local couple who, like Joe, lives nearby. He sets his telescope up in spots throughout the neighborhood from time to time and likes to share the experience with others.
Dana, Andres, and I each took turns looking at the moon. With the city sky remarkably clear tonight, the view was incredible. To quote the guy who had a look before me, "It's like I'm staring at the set of Star Wars, except it's real." As I gazed upon the moon's craters, I immediately understood why Joe was out on the street. Seeing the moon with this level of detail is not an experience you want to keep to yourself.
We briefly chatted with Joe and found out that he was collecting emails to let any locals know when he'd be out again. Well, yeah - I wanted to know! I "joined his mailing list" via pen and scrap paper.
It's times like these that remind me why you can't always trust your gut. I'm glad I have Dana to make me think twice sometimes, so I don't miss out on the joy of little moments like tonight.
Cheers to Joe, the moon guy, and the characters of Park Slope.