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Column: Watch out for solar luna(r)-tics during Aug. 21 eclipse

By Tammy Malgesini

Staff Writer

Published on July 3, 2017 10:19AM


We have become a society of commercialization.

I know I’m preaching to the choir when I say this. Remember the days when stores were closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas? I do. And, I liked it — even when I had to scramble to find some yeast one year on Christmas Day because ours had gone bad.

The latest event that’s been overrun by commercialization is the upcoming total solar eclipse.

If you’ve been hiding under a rock and haven’t heard about it — the celestial show, which features the sun hiding behind the moon’s shadow, is Monday, Aug. 21. The path of totality will touchdown at about 10:15 a.m. on the Oregon coast between Lincoln City and Newport. It will travel a swath through the entire state as it makes its way across the United States.

Seriously, people are getting crazy about a celestial happening. Expert eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson, touting typically clear August skies, said Oregon offers a great chance to fully experience the cosmic phenomenon.

Evidently, the masses agree — more than 1 million people are expected to travel to the state to experience the sun’s dance with the moon. Even the Oregon Department of Transportation is concerned — urging people not to become luna(r)-tics. To reduce road congestion, they suggest arriving early, staying put and leaving late.

NASA is calling it an “experience of a lifetime.” Well, I must be extra special — because I recall experiencing a solar eclipse while living in Newberg when I was a freshman in college.

Only, back then, it seems people didn’t focus on making big bucks off the event. There weren’t a bunch of souvenir T-shirts, commemorative viewing glasses weren’t flooding the market and motel rooms weren’t outrageously priced.

For the August 21 event, Pendleton (which isn’t in the path of totality) is tossing its hat into the ring in hopes of cashing in as a “gateway to the eclipse.” Travel Pendleton has pondered offering packages that include accommodations and chartered buses to the path of totality.

I have no interest in dealing with the possibility of solar luna(r)-tics road rage. Without a shadow of a doubt — although, Hermiston doesn’t have a front row seat — local residents will be treated to quite the celestial show. The maximum coverage, which is all but a sliver, will occur at about 10:23 a.m. (to view a simulation, visit www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/hermiston).

I don’t care what the solar snobs say, that’s good enough for me. I’ll crank up George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” and don some special glasses during my second in a lifetime experience.

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Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.



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