I didn’t understand how unusual my childhood vacations were until the last month or so, when the whole country came down with eclipse fever. When planning trips around eclipses was established as a normal, semi-regular occurrence, I didn’t realize we were any different from a family who took pilgrimages to Disney or to some beach timeshare.
Growing up with a unique familiarity with such a majestic event can warp your sense of appreciation. Back in 2012, an eclipse passed through LA, producing a “ring of fire” effect. I made an event of it, hiking up into the famous Griffith Park with a couple friends, a case of beer, and a pack of special eclipse glasses.
As we set up our own personal Eclipse Party on the edge of a busy hiking path, I was amazed by the response we got from passersby. By and large, they had no idea what was happening. Granted, unless you’re looking straight at the sky, a partial eclipse at 6:30pm doesn’t look much different than a big cloud passing by. So I can’t blame the dozens of people we encountered for not noticing. But at the time, I genuinely didn’t know that most people don’t have these events marked on their calendar. Apparently not everyone’s mom ships them packs of special glasses weeks in advance.