Strange what desire will make foolish people do
What a wicked game you play
To make me feel this way
What a wicked thing to do
To let me dream of you
"Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak
You know I can't let this story go without saying a few things about it. Certainly by now everyone has heard about the astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who drove 900 miles in a diaper to attempt to kidnap, and possibly murder, a perceived romantic rival, Colleen Shipman, for the affections of another married astronaut, William Oefelein. What would possess a highly intelligent, accomplished woman to do such a crazy thing?
Well, aside from the usual speculations about the emotional instabilities of women, as my husband likes to promote ;-)*, I think we should look at this situation from a wider perspective. What is so f*cking special about this Oefelein guy that would motivate a woman to throw her entire life away on his behalf? I don't think I'll pursue that line of thought, but feel free if you'd like to add to that subject.
I have to wonder what exactly his relationship was with Nowak. Was he playing some kind of wicked game with her (and Shipman?) and encouraging her romantic feelings while never really intending to have a real relationship? Was he just feeding his ego by playing with the emotions of these two women? Was he just an "innocent" recipient of unbidden affections from Nowak and/or Shipman? I don't think that these are irrelevant questions because we all have to have some responsibility for our interactions with others and the potential consequences of those interactions.
I'm very interested to hear the sides of the story from Shipman and Oefelein. It has been reported that Shipman claims that she had been stalked by Nowak. There is surely more to that story. However, since Oefelein is married, but to neither Shipman nor Nowak, there is yet another side of this story: Oefelein's wife's perspective. I'd be really pissed and disappointed for the whole world to learn that my husband was playing a wicked game with two other women. And of course, there's the sad situation for Nowak's children.
Certainly, there is much more to learn about the motivations and background of this story. But perhaps it is a vivid and intense reminder that human hearts (and minds) are very tender and that playing wicked games with them can only end in tragedy.
* We were talking/joking about this story this morning and I told him that I sure hoped he didn't have some girlfriend that was going to try to kidnap/kill me. Then he said it was the "old" ones who went nuts like that, but I reminded him of that crazy teenager Amy Fisher who shot her much older boyfriend's wife in the head. So age has nothing to do with it. Obviously age, education, success, renown, or any other thing has nothing to do with it. He still says that it's just women and their instability. Well, I still say that it's men and their stupidity that leads to women's instability. ;-)
** A new article discussing more details from the family perspectives reveals that Oefelein has been separated from his wife for a while. But it does not clearly specify his actual relationships with either Nowak or Shipman. I still think that if he was playing both of them in a "wicked game" of insincere encouragement that he has at least some psychological responsibility for what happened.