VIEW FROM AMERICA: Discrimination Pursues Canadian Into 'Cosmos'




Field notes from isolation experiment recently concluded aboard replica of Mir space station at Moscow Institute for Biomedical Problems; filed under "female behavior."


Day 3


I haven't had a minute to write since we entered the capsule - there's simply been too much to do! If this pace keeps up, I may have to request another 110 days. Am afraid there will be no time to conduct my scientific experiments. As the only woman on board, my observations are of special importance. The Russians get 240 days inside. I don't see why I can't have the same privilege. (Discrimination?) Well, back to unpacking.


Day 25


In between interactions with my colleagues, I am busy polishing my resum?. Am determined to be first Canadian invited to join the International Space Station project. This capsule time will look very good to the selection committee. So far I have demonstrated fortitude in dealing with people of other cultures, tidiness under cramped conditions, promoting a friendly work environment and maintaining a steady body weight. Yes, I think a spot on the ISS is virtually guaranteed. In 2012, I will be 44. Will I still have my looks?


Day 40


Being a cosmonaut is certainly a serious endeavor, but what about just having a little fun for a change? Sometimes I think my Austrian and Japanese colleagues are not living up to the spirit of our experiment. I am trying to organize some celebrations for New Year's. They may accuse me of being all play and no work, but I say that after a month and a half in this depressing tin can, we all deserve a little diversion. They have agreed to send in a little champagne. I have hidden the bottles beneath my bunk and away from the prying eyes of our Russian friends. They, at least, are in the mood for a party.


New Year's Day


Can barely write, my hands are shaking so. What a disaster this new millennium has turned out to be! Here I am, a Canadian scientist just trying to do my job, and how am I rewarded? By being reminded that I am first and foremost a woman! Last night one of the Russians tried to kiss me on the lips. Then he and another Russian began fighting - I believe over me! I know it was a holiday, but I hoped our professional circumstances would have precluded such a bestial display. He apologized this morning, but I swear he was smirking. Does no one take me seriously?


Day 65


Finally convinced them to seal off the door to the Russian module. Now perhaps I can sleep at night. Can't wait to get out of here. Have already prepared my press release.