Sunday, February 11, 2007

Astronauts Gone Wild

Let's talk about Lisa Marie Nowak, the astronaut who was arrested last week for planning to harm another woman who was trying to get into her boyfriend's space suit. I'm way behind on this, I know, but sometimes a man has to gather himself in the aftermath of such a stunning development. Most of the news outlets rightly led their accounts with the fact that Nowak wore a diaper during her 950-mile drive from Houston to Orlando to kick ass, so that she wouldn't have to go to the bathroom, guaranteeing that most people wouldn't read the rest of the story because they were too busy doubling over with laughter.

Let's parse that sensational angle before moving on to some of the more mundane, but no less perplexing details... Let me get this straight: Nowak was trying to meet her rival's flight in Orlando, so she didn't want to waste time, thus the diaper. Really? She's driving nearly a thousand miles, and she doesn't trust herself to make up the twenty or thirty combined minutes she might need in order to pull over and pee? I could understand the choice of undergarment better if she was driving an hour to catch a train, but come on -- taking on the distance she was, you need to have faith that you're going to overcome a few troublesome variables.

Of course, this is all obscuring the simple fact that she was covering half the country in order to beat someone up. That's one pissed-off astronaut. And makes me think maybe the seven-day waiting period isn't such an effective plan after all.

But it sounds like she wasn't just going to beat her up:
...the police filed the new charges against her, saying they had evidence that Captain Nowak intended ”to do serious bodily injury or death” to Colleen Shipman, a captain in the Air Force...
I didn't know you could "do death" to someone.
When the police arrested Captain Nowak, they found in her possession a steel mallet, a buck knife with a four-inch blade, a BB gun and a map to Captain Shipman’s house, they said.
I hope they got her slingshot, too, and the loincloth she was wearing over the diaper. I thought astronauts were more sophisticated than that. It's like she quickly went from repairing robotic arms in deep space to rutting around in the state of nature.
According to the police, Captain Nowak drove more than 950 miles from Houston to Orlando to meet with Captain Shipman, who was flying from Houston to her home in the Orlando area at the same time — because she wanted to confront Captain Shipman after discovering that she too was involved with Commander Oefelein.
Wait, what?? Shipman was flying from Houston "at the same time"?? So Nowak thought she could outrun a plane in her car? This woman's getting batcrap crazier by the second. Not to mention worse at planning -- Shipman had been in Houston. Either Nowak found out about her competitor after the plane had taken off, which would make it nonsensical that she expected to "meet her flight," or she missed a golden opportunity. Wouldn't a trip to the Houston airport to confront Shipman have saved Nowak about, oh, 15 hours of soggy fury?

It all makes me think Dan Savage at The Stranger was on to something when he wrote this after a reader suggested that meth played a role in the incident:
Meth would explain the sheer, maniacal determination the lady astronaut displayed. She drove 950 miles in diapers so that she wouldn’t have to stop along the way to use the toilet—that’s methy.
Then there's this unconfirmed opinion (as far as I know) from a friend who I saw today: “She was wearing a specially-issued astronaut diaper -- it was no ordinary diaper she was wearing, for sure."


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