Nothing is an idle threat. For example, when I threatened to write about time travel, you probably thought I was kidding. This just isn't that kind of blog. I mean the SK has hung her virtual and professional reputation on publishing only the truth, as she knows it. Her professional articles are well researched. Her SK photo vérité submissions are humorous, yet accurate, depictions of daily life in suburban Chicago and they are the soul of this site. She does not link cheesy videos from YouTube, resort to Bartlett's Quotations, indulge in political posturing, vague pseudo-science (apart from the container store series) or speculate on what it might be like to actually be in a Dorothy Dunnett novel, at least not on this site.
I might add that she does not drink bad wine, eat carbs that are not French bread bien cuit, or wear frumpy shoes. If you read this site you are coming here because she is real and she is funny, whereas, your guest blogger has a beat-up copy of a good bit of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (chapter 3 is inexplicably gone) an idea that most good stories aren't precisely true and over 50 years of memories which are more like impressions of things that might have happened. I would not have made a good journalist or a good scientist. Once, while following the instructions for an acid test, I set fire to my junior high school science lab, unintentionally of course. My recipe contained no Kool-Aid, but, I may have missed a step. My friends will also tell you I can't find Polaris with both hands and a star atlas. Fair warning.
The SK and I have a long running dispute about writing. You might say we are friends the way Thoreau and Emerson were ---Thoreau, you remember him, living in environmentally correct invisibility on Walden Pond, hanging out with Emerson who once famously said: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
I was married to Emerson once. He was irrresponsible about wet towels in the bathroom.
My position on writing (and reality TV) is that there is no such thing as non-fiction. Once you choose the words in a story, frame the shot, it becomes more than a factual account, but even more to the point, is a factual account of anything really possible?
I recently linked an article about time travel that contained the following facts from a survey that reads as though it was probably taken during a 1964 road trip in a 1939 Harvester school bus. Thirty percent of the three thousand surveyed believe that time travel IS possible (not will be). Twenty-four percent believe that teleporting is a real mode of travel despite the fact that most, ok, none of those same people can put together a chair from Ikea let alone reassemble a human being on the atomic level. And eighteen percent believe they can see gravity. That last one is a given. I think anyone over forty with a full length bathroom mirror is in that last 18%.
But maybe those surveyed weren't completely stoners. We all use a time machine every day, whether we are thinking about what we will have later for lunch or, when we stop data entry long enough to recall the name of that quirky ale we had last week on a trip to St. Petersburg (still Florida). So, right now you think you know where I'm going with this and you are paused, half a click to Facebook -- because someone over there may actually be doing something other than waiting for someone else to do something. You would of course be wrong, on both counts.
What is the aversion to just going nowhere? Why isn't it enough to just be where you are? Why is everyone obsessed with being somewhere else all the time? All good questions that I'm not going to answer. Those of you expecting a philosophic discussion of motivational locomotion please click the back button now and start again.
So, it's just the three of us. Think for a minute about where you would want to be, right now, if you could be anywhere. Perhaps back at the summer camp where you found your best friend for life or maybe you want to travel to India someday. Maybe you want to be with the SK in the French countryside separating the parsley from the carrot tops for today's dinner of Coq au Vin. (You guys just have fun, I'm fine here, really I am...and the plants are fine. And the weather is fine. Perfectly fine.)
Why can't we just like being where we are? Better yet, why can't we just be where we are? You are going to say, have you actually seen where I am? I have. You are sitting in your living room with the TV muted, latte cooling off, thinking you really should be doing the laundry, some Kegel exercises and paying the bills.
Don't you see the problem now? You aren't really where you are. Everyone is already in their own time machine, windows rolled up, music blaring, all the time, at least when they aren't texting because everyone knows that texting and time travel are deadly and no one would ever do that, right?
We are all going places we have never been, places which seem familiar but which are not in the least bit accurate, either before we see them or after and surprisingly, not even while we are seeing them.
As it turns out, you are incapable of storing one present thought accurately or recalling even one single accurate memory. You need proof? Let's see if I can remember all the steps this time. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and start with something you see every day. This is a two step experiment, unlike the prior multi-step Ikea experiments. You will be fine.
In 1979 Dr. RS Nickerson and Dr. JJ Adams did a study, the point of which was to see what our long term memory of a common object might be.Go HERE and pick out the real penny, then take a look at a real penny and come back.
If you picked the right penny you are excused. You have an eerily well organized brain and your friends probably use you as a walking birthday compendium because they are too lazy to use Birthday Alarm. Go Tweet someone about how perceptive you are. If you chose the wrong penny then you are like the rest of us. Flawed in the perception, retention and analysis of what we have seen and experienced, and, proceeding to India someday with that flawed background we will find, once there, we meant to go to Egypt and also we left the coffee pot on. We are doomed to live a life parallel to the one we are actually living.
So, how do we get to experience our real life? Maybe we don't. Maybe we haven't the genetic predisposition to encode memories accurately enough to create a frame of reference capable of supporting the truth. Perhaps the thing we have to learn and learn early is that, in our present state, everything is approximate.
FP&L, listen up. My section of the cosmos went dark once because we underpaid by 65 cents. Utilityworkers are also singularly ungifted in big picture economics. Did you know that it takes two entire days to turn your water back on, even though they turn it off at light speed. Perhaps they use the same software as Google Earth.
But the funny thing is, that even though (I contend) we can't really experience our own lives, not accurately anyway, we can affect the reality of our lives. So, when Ken Kesey volunteered for LSD experimentation and began the original magical mystery tour, he ended up starting a movement that changed all of our lives and he was doing exactly what we do by painting the living room, turning on a light or infusing the room with good Jamaican Blue in the morning. Our reality is (almost) what we make it.
So, this afternoon, absent any kind of review from my long trusted movie critic, who is busy photographing things I can only imagine in, where was it, France? I'm going to take a chance, alter my almost reality some more. I am out the door to see a movie called Another Earth and I'm hoping that it won't seem the least bit silly or contrived.
Because, I already know there is another earth. I'm living in it.