By Amy Chavez
For The Bali Times
What your name?â€ asks the Indonesian woman.
â€œAmy,â€ I tell her.
â€œWhere you from?â€
â€œYou have child?â€
â€œWhy no have child?â€
I never know what to say when Indonesian people ask me this, and they invariably do ask, especially if they are meeting you for this first time. Although such direct questions are considered inappropriate to ask of strangers in Western cultures, this woman was just being a polite Balinese woman. But how to answer such a difficult question simply?
I could go into the history of my sex life, my own reproductive cycle, the rhythm method, but I wasn’t planning on staying in this woman’s shop very long. And I certainly didn’t have all day to tell her about how I had considered fertility drugs, in-vitro, accepting sperm from a perfect stranger or letting a woman I don’t even know have a child for me. But I didn’t have all day to explain this.
â€œBut you do want to born child, yeah?â€ says the Indonesian woman, trying again.
Since that day, I have prepared a more appropriate response. I am even considering printing out flyers so I can hand one to the next 100 people who ask, â€œYou do want to born child, yeah?â€
Yes, I wouldÂ like to give birth – to a star. Why not? With all the new methods of getting pregnant, I am confident that soon we’ll have the technology for me to become pregnant with a star.
With all the worries of bringing up children these days, such as poverty, the environment and overpopulation, space just seems like a safer place to raise a baby. So until things change down here on Earth, I’m going to stick with stars. Besides, the Hubble Telescope, with the Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer, makes an ultrasound look primitive.
This machine has already witnessed baby stars and their births in the Orion constellation’s nebula and in stars in Egg nebula, which is 20 quadrillion kilometers from Earth. With this kind of observation capability, who needs childcare centers? I can always know exactly what my baby star is doing.
The biggest obstacle to star birth is that my husband isn’t a star. And if I get a hold of star sperm, I could perhaps get pregnant through in-vitro fertilization. Of course, one of the risks of in-vitro is multiple births; thus, I run the risk of giving birth to a galaxy. So to avoid creating more Milky Ways, perhaps the best method of becoming pregnant with a star is through cloning. But there are moral issues regarding cloning: Which star should be cloned? Should the North Star be exempt? What about the Seven Sisters?
With the talk of space travel being available to the average person in the near future, that means I could visit my baby star any time I wanted. Although the thought of space travel is intriguing, I recommend that people have a very good reason to travel into space before actually doing it. Otherwise, you just may decide that space travel isn’t for you:
You: â€œI think we were supposed to turn left back there at Mars.â€
Your spouse: â€œOh sorry, I was nodding off again. Did we really pass Mars? The scenery has been the same for days. This is so boring. Where are we now?â€
You: â€œThere’s a sign. It says, Found City of Atlantis.â€
Spouse: â€œHere:â€™ a cafÃ©. Let’s stop for coffee.â€
You: â€œDo you think we can get in? That place is packed. Look at all those spaceships parked out front. And I don’t recognize any of the planet names on those license plates.â€
Spouse: â€œAccording to this map, there isn’t another restaurant until we get to Jupiter.â€
You: â€œWhose idea was it to go to Saturn for vacation anyway? Just think: we could be on the beach in Bali.â€
But when I go into space to visit my baby star, it will be different:
Me: â€œOh look! Isn’t she beautiful?â€
My husband: â€œYes, but that’s not here. Our star is over there, honey.â€
Me: â€œAre you sure?â€
Husband: â€œOh, maybe that’s not here either. Our little star is so easy to spot from Earth but up here, all these bintang look alike.â€
Me: â€œShe should stand out since she is a very bright child. She’s already had a supermarket and a beer named after her.â€
Husband: â€œI think we made a mistake calculating the azimuth. Would you look in the glove box and get out the Dr. Spock’s Starbabies Manual with the map in it?â€
Me: â€œOh no, you’re not going to believe this, but I forgot to bring it.â€
Husband: â€œWell, we can always go back and get it. We’ve got a few extra months.â€
Me: â€œHey look – there she is!â€
Husband: â€œAnd she’s still got all that dust and gas surrounding her.â€
Me: â€œYes, I recognize her sparkle. She looks so bright and happy. That’s definitely Wayan!â€
Both of us: â€œHi Wayan! Sparkle over here!â€
Husband: â€œJust think, someday she’ll grow up to be a supernova.â€
Me: â€œYeah, just like the shopping center.â€
But we better start looking for godparents now – stars can live for billions of years. That’s a lot of godparents.