Charlie Brown Eclipse
The Social and Economic Aspect of a Full Eclipse
As I previously wrote, I was fortunate enough to watch the 2017 eclipse from a position within the path of totality. Today I plan to share with you some of the social aspect as well as the economic impact. I was in a group of about 40 of which the vast majority were complete strangers. But there is a certain bonding which occurs in such an event. It is this social aspect which adds to the thrill of watching a total eclipse.
About half the attendees were children. Most were in the K-12 range with a few younger and perhaps one or two in college. The nearby schools made the day optional for attendance. I was one of the oldest, if not the oldest and so the mid-fifties was the upper range. Therefore, many of the adults took the day off or if on a night shift, awoke early. One individual had his business shut down by the state due to the anticipated crowds. When you see the negative economic impact figures, this loss of productivity is what the numbers represent.
Since I am at a stage where I am beginning to forget things, I forgot to pack a shirt for the overnight trip. Shortly after arriving, I made a stop at the local Target and bought two eclipse shirts. Only adult medium and youth large were left. They were sold out of all other sizes. I also enjoyed dinner at a restaurant with two good friends. I don’t think they planned on eating out before I called them that morning. Additionally, I bought a tank of gas both coming and going to the event. I do not know if these expenditures, which offset the loss of productivity, are counted in any way.
The eclipse party also included some extra consumer spending. As you can see from the pictures, there were other t-shirts sporting the eclipse. Even though I was a stranger to most, I was not the only guest at the party from out of the area. There were at least three individuals from Dallas, Texas and several other towns, cities and states were represented. Most drove but at least one attendee flew in for the event.
While many observers of the eclipse were watching from parks, soccer fields and even the sides of highways, I watched on private property. As I previously noted, most of my fellow watchers were strangers to me. I was the outsider, but am grateful to my host and hostess for including me. They like me, have an appreciation for privacy. Therefore the group of forty was quite small in comparison to the amount of space available. It remains to be seen if any longstanding relationships develop from the experience, but I will never forget the people I met.
A total eclipse is special. An experience that inks permanently on the brain. My only regret is echoed by a fellow observer on the following video clip. I wish I had a better camera.