That’s what Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson told me. According to him, I meet all the criteria of a star headed toward its grand extinguishing.
Okay, he wasn’t literally talking to me. I was watching an episode of Cosmos. But in my quarantine state of mind, he and I were having a deep discussion in my living room while I sat on my sofa wrapped in a fleece throw and drinking a glass of wine. With the cadence of a late-night radio host talking listeners off the ledge, Dr. Tyson explained the terminal condition that plagued the red giant looming large on my television. As the credits rolled 40 minutes later, it hit me. This star’s affliction had jumped interstellar species to humans. Or at least to me.
I roam my two-bedroom abode with a head full of grumpy greys, gnarled with age and bitching at their neighbors.
Based on how I’ve been feeling the last two months, I am on the verge of blowing up. For stars, this can take hundreds of thousands of years, but when I convert this to human years, I can figure out approximately how much time I have left. By subtracting a few days for my increased stress, adding a few from stress-reducing inebriation, multiplying by the total days in quarantine, and dividing by the space-time continuum…I figure I have a week, maybe two, before detonation. Like scientists, I cannot say for certain what day it will happen, I just know that it will. All the signs are there:
I’m showing my age
As stars burn through their hydrogen supplies, they can change colors from blue to red. My own supplies of hydrogen peroxide are dwindling fast. The blonde is inching downward and grey is emerging in its place, rising from my roots like zombies that have just feasted on my brain. I could wage war, but all I have in my arsenal is a squirt bottle of hair dye left over from the last time I tried to exercise some self-hair care. Michelle, my stylist, was not pleased with my work. So, rather than incur her ire (should we ever be allowed to leave the house again), I roam my two-bedroom abode with a head full of grumpy greys, gnarled with age and bitching at their neighbors. My only recourse is an old scrunchie left behind from my 80s wardrobe purge.
I’m running out of fuel
Stars in their death throes subsist on dwindling nuclear reserves. I’m running on fumes myself. I can’t muster the energy to make the bed. I don’t want to cook. Don’t even get me started on the mounting pile of laundry. It takes my last ounce of umph to shower. And putting on a bra? The effort might just kill me. My daily rut has taken full form: drag myself out of bed, telework, dinner, Netflix, back to bed. Drag myself out of bed, telework, dinner…you get the idea.
The walk to my office is uphill both ways now, and with each trip I feel the burn in my calves. My caffeine jumper cables, two cups of hot tea, are barely sparking my brain to life anymore.
My world is collapsing
As fuel reserves diminish, the star’s shell succumbs to gravity, collapsing in on itself. I feel its pain. The weight of this pandemic is pressing in on me, herding me into smaller and smaller confines. My corner of the world has shrunk to 2,400 square feet. I gain extra space if I venture to the basement, but I don’t want to go down there. It’s messy, lacks natural light, and ghosts of furniture past haunt me whenever I visit.
Maybe I’ll see the UPS guy delivering my package of printer ink, and I’ll become so filled with lust at his bravery that I grab him in a “V-J Day in Times Square” embrace.
The increasing proximity between me and my husband makes it impossible to ignore his endless telecons, the profanity he hurls at his laptop, and the deafening crunch of carrots in his lunchtime salads.
Explosion could occur at any minute
Supernovas are fireworks shows of astronomical proportions, scorching everything in their vicinity into stellar ash. My supernova won’t be as gloriously-scaled, since I probably won’t literally combust. But I see a figurative version transpiring. It could go several ways:
Finally pushed over the edge from trying to tame my Einstein locks, I blindly grab my husband’s razor and shear off every last one of those grey bastards.
I step on the scale, watch the arrow shift yet again to the right, and launch that weight-shaming device through one of our expensive, double-paned, Andersen casement windows.
The UPS guy will deliver my package of printer ink, and I’ll become so filled with lust at his bravery that I grab him in a V-J Day in Times Square embrace. (You know the image I’m talking about — the soldier planting a kiss on the unsuspecting nurse).
I’ll throw a toddler-worthy temper tantrum that ends with my husband’s salad scattered out on the lawn.
I can’t know for sure which way it will go.
I suppose there’s a slim chance I won’t go nova. Betelgeuse turned its life around. The Orion star showed symptoms that scientists’ thought was supernova syndrome but turned out to be a mild case of stellar dust allergies. My head case could be pollen-related, but I doubt it.
Friends tell me to just go for a walk, get some fresh air, or eat lunch in a separate room. I will try a few of these homeopathic remedies, but if you see me standing on my porch, bald head glinting in the sun, or a herd of rabbits munching contentedly in my yard, make your way to the other side of the street. Event Horizon violators might spiral into the black hole and be crushed on site.