Tuesday, April 10, 2012
A Call to the Space Center Leads to an Enjoyable Conversation with the Director
"Why can't we go to the Space Center?" Nick asked with a sigh. Nick and James sat outside pondering their next move. Nick's mother banished both of them to the outdoors. She thought they needed some fresh air.
"Four hours of video games is enough," she explained to the boys. They objected, but it didn't do any good.
"The guy said the Space Center was closed this week when I called." James answered with an added shrug of the shoulders for emphasis.
"Maybe he just meant they were closed for a couple days. I'll bet they're open now. Call and find out." Nick shoved his friend, unplanting his backside from deck.
"I'm telling you they are closed."
"Call and see!"
"OK, ok." James pulled his phone out from his pocket and dialed the Space Center.
"Space Center," Mr. Williamson answered in his bright and welcoming voice. He strictly reserved his Bright and Welcoming Voice for telephone calls and the issuing a 'Get Out of Jail Free' cards to members of the Space Center staff and volunteers who do remarkable things above and beyond the call of duty.
"Are you open this week?" James asked, not realizing he was actually talking to the founder and director of the Space Center himself. Had James known............ well, it really wouldn't have really matter so never mind.
"Sorry, we are closed for Spring Vacation," Mr. Williamson replied with a voice so rich in melody, his words could have been sung over the phone - giving the listener something to whistle for the remainder of the day.
"Well, my friend and I were just wondering." James was about to say "bye" when Mr. Williamson cut him off with a question.
"Bored are we?" Mr. Williamson deciphered the sound of his disappointment. Mr. Williamson continued to explain the reasons for closing the Center
"You see, Spring Break gives us an opportunity to do maintenance on our ships. We are so busy during the school year that we rarely can get into the ships to fix things that break or modify the ships so they run better."
James held up the hand that wasn't holding the phone and tapped his forefinger and middle finger against this thumb, giving Nick the universal symbol for 'this guy won't stop talking'. Nick smiled.
"Let me hear." Nick pulled on James's phone. Nick held the phone away from his ear so Nick could hear the lecture for himself.
Mr. Williamson spoke in one long run on sentence, seemingly without needing to pause for a breath - the sure sign of an experience Space Center Flight Director. "
"Most people don't know all the work that's needed just to keep the Space Center running. Just yesterday, Jon replaced the video projector mount for the Voyager. Today he's in the Phoenix taking up the floor to replace the blue rope lighting......."
..... Christine is in the Odyssey cleaning. The Odyssey hasn't had a good clean in a long time...
....She's making a real mess of things. She is watching the BBC show "Sherlock Holmes" while she cleans. Everyone around here is a real fan of the new Sherlock Holmes......
.....Jackie was here helping Christine. The more hands the merrier when it comes to cleaning we always say.....
.....Megan Warner is a Phoenix Flight Director. She's taken everything out of the Phoenix's Control Room for a good clean. Jon is going to install a new shelve.....
...of course, this deep cleaning means everything from the ships must be stored in the Space Center's office. You should see my office. It's a real mess right now.....
....Matt Ricks is the Space Center's Tech and a member of our Programming Guild. He is in the Magellan debugging the Magellan's new simulator controls. The Magellan is converting from a Starbase to a Starship this summer.....
.....Yesterday the Phoenix Flight Directors spent time decorating the school's Faculty Lounge. They put out a few props to see what it would take to create a Canteena scene in the Faculty Lounge for the Phoenix's new summer story.....
.....They also spent a good part of the morning painting a couple of lamps for the Canteena. So now I hope you understand why I have to close the Space Center from time to time. Because even when we are closed, we are here working to ensure people like you always have the best experience we can give with the resources we have."
Mr. Williamson stopped talking when he heard the steady beeping tone a phone makes when the person on the other end hangs up . He hung up the Space Center's phone confident he'd educated a young Space Center fan on the inner workings of the Second Happiest Place on Earth!