Lately, I’ve been crisscrossing the country and looking at the schedule, I am going to be doing the same until December. I have taken to showing up at gates leading to my home town whether or not I am scheduled aboard to see if I can jump aboard and get home sooner. I ended up squashed between two guys on a full flight last Wednesday pulling the same stunt and I had a good talk about the differences in mental approaches to logic puzzles. Sometimes I call myself Really Dumb so much I do not keep trying to solve the problem. So, I’ve taken a wee break from the self-annihilation for a bit, pointless as it is.
Lyft drivers are not all cut from the same cloth. Take Chicago as an example. A very large metropolitan area traversed by a good number of Uber/Lyft drivers and an equal amount of people on those electric scooters flying by at 30 mph (always without a helmet, God rest their craniums).
There are drivers who use GPS and drivers who know the city and use GPS as a suggestion. Both warrant an equal amount of your attention. Michelle drove right past me even though I dropped the pin right on my location and tried valiantly to flag her down; she did not know her way around the city. We did a full circle of the main artery downtown until I suggested an alternate route, which she accepted with a kind of silent resignation – we both knew she was lost.
A guy picked me up the next day and took me directly to my destination in 15 minutes – I was watching the map carefully as he deviated from the route. You don’t want to end up disappeared, you know?
I had a good laugh with a different Lyft driver who was equally lost but as we were trapped on the highway for a long time, opened up a little about himself and soon enough we were having a good laugh when normally, I might feign a phone call rather than be social.
I told him about how St. Louis has almost regained the momentum it lost when it burnt down 150 times in the 1800’s; how the city is coming back to itself, drawing business and sports to its center. He asked if it really burned down that many times. The Fireman’s Association wrote a great book at the turn of the century documenting the fires of the 1800’s, which were all pretty devastating. No fire codes, people trapped in a labyrinth of corridors with no clear exit, general stores below packed with everything a fire needs to burn and burn and burn. I told him about the fires on the river front – how one big steamer would catch fire, burn through its moorings and then go on to drift to its neighbor and set off a chain reaction of blazes on down the line.
It can seriously fuck the economy to lose an infrastructure. Think Hurricanes Jose and Maria. Double-punches from which recovery has been slow.
Amidst the flighting, I took a boat ride out to Fire Island and back, and I sweat in a bus with a bunch of tired coworkers talking about finances and budgets until I was dizzy, more likely related to having enough grip on the topic to realize the enormous hurdle I was facing in the next 4 months than the heat.
There is always something to worry about with work, and almost no time to dwell upon it. I’ve been doing sleeping meditations to help expedite me to the land of z’s, to some effect, but I’m grinding my teeth again and I’d like to stop while I still have teeth.
Last night, however, around 340am, as I was not able to sleep with my wife working midnights, I had it out with God. While googling Are Humans Living in a Simulation. Because, seriously, this shit feels like a bad joke at times. The only thing standing between humans creating a simulation of earth and its people is the size of the technology needed to pull it off. And our predecessors have probably figured that out and I am here shaking my fist up at them with my own Area 51 conspiracy theory like a weenie.
I have enclosed my notes way at the end. Go take a look. You will need the visual.
Let’s imagine, for the sake of this vexing quandary, we are dealing with 1) a higher power whom we shall refer to as God, whose name bears a male connotation and who is also known to be one part of a trinity, which is comprised of God, Jesus/Son, Holy Spirit; 2) there are angels.
And, 3) I am not satisfied with the God is Love theory flamboyantly waved about in the bible.
In the picture we have the sunshine, symbolizing God, shining down upon Humanity. The stick figure is the Son (so many males, is there room for a woman Jesus??); the cloud surrounding the Son is the Holy Spirit. The +/- sign is the gain and loss of humans as a cost or byproduct of reproducing while living between yonder Heavenly Hosts and what is below, the dark star with the squiggly upward arrows, stinking evil onto the humans.
If you read any Elaine Pagels, she’ll tell you all about Evil being cast as dark and how well that has played out for anyone with dark skin.
I’m going for all the engrained stereotypes with this one. Hold onto your hair.
I listed out 10 possible reasons why (to me) God is what God is to humans. I stopped at 10 and discussed it with my wife after she got home this morning.
She’s an engineer. She sees things as this or that, not maybe-this, or probably-that. I force her to talk about theoretical things anyway. Granted, she had not slept for a full 24 hours, but she came right out with my OR statement at the bottom.
“What if it could all be much worse without God’s intervention?” she said.
Yes, that argument was absent from my notes. How God could be offsetting something much worse. Like the sun never shining and animals roaming around eating humans. No plants, no sunshine, a big, fat nope on smiles.
I added my belief that we are made in God’s image and are made of good and bad; if God is still being, God is fighting his dark nature, too. And what about God being in over God's head?
It is entirely possible, I suggested, because, why would God loose humanity forth after Lucifer-turned-Satan branched off on his own – obviously free will was not a great idea. I’m not even good at simple logic puzzles and I could puzzle out in about 4 seconds how quickly mankind would slide into the shitter if left to our own devices. Clearly, this is not in God's control, because God is supposed to be wicked smart, and should have sussed this out early on and not let it get out of hand.
Besides, I would gladly go along with having a little less autonomy to not be roaming the earth with serial killers, I reasoned.
“Really?” she said, brushing aside the obviously glaring issue of how little I would actually like to be anything but self-directed. “I doubt it is a simulation. Free will is ours to use or abuse. And as for God...it’s like any parent, you do your best to be there for your children, but you cannot always be there.”
Ok, fine, so God has almost 8 billion people to look out for, including the could-not-be-gone-soon-enough serial killers. I was willing to entertain it.
“Plus,” she added, “God gave us rules and we cannot even do them because we want to do our own thing instead.”
There are some papers on our existence being a part of a simulation, which is just as much fairyland as believing in God. Faith. Fairies. Call it what you want, it takes a leap to believe in anything outside of the physical world, yet we sense we are not alone. I have not fully resolved my thoughts on the matter. It's going to take a while.
Coming up soon, I’m going to try Invisalign. Not because I’m vain about my crooked teeth, but as I would like to have all of my teeth when I am in my 70’s, which may not be the case if my bite isn’t moved to a more suitable set of landing spots. Of course, I may grind them all down to nothing due to stress.
My son’s orthodontist is Italian. His accent describing anything - including dental work - is pretty much 100% awesome. I flung my credit card at him like a ninja star and so in 4 weeks I will be lisping away trying to get used to having weird plastic casings around my teeth.
My coworker has braces – like full on metal braces. She said “Fuck it, I’m 45, married, and I don’t care. I need straight teeth.” I imagine my mother-in-law will have a hundred questions I do not want to answer, but I remind myself, though I have no idea how to manage a relationship with a parent, it is still pretty great to now have both a mother and a father after all this time of thinking that would not happen. And as I have to be reminded of how parents mother their kids, I am sure my manners will come in handy as we traverse the issue of my braces around the dinner table in the presence of the entire family. :)
My garden continues to thrive. I am probably going to pickle a second round of beets, as I replanted the roots I accidentally pulled up too early and they took! Tomatoes of many kinds are blasting forth. At 930pm was raining so hard I was worried they would be swimming in their raised beds, so I sprinted outside in the darkness to unplug the little water stopper. I'm glad I did because we got flash flood strength rain overnight.
The lemon verbena plant continues to mock me, leaning out wildly from its massive pot. I am going to wait until their leaves fall off (the potted herbs) to bring them inside to winter. I am also going to leave the leaves to their own devices, to cover the rest of the native plant beds through the colder parts of the of year.
It is almost time to go to HHN. We have been trying to watch Stranger Things, which has a lot of 80’s kitsch to it, but still fails to draw me in enough to want to keep watching, plus we both dislike horror as a genre unless it involves a haunted corn maze with people chasing you down with a chainsaw or a decent haunted house.
Mostly, I am looking forward to some Butterbeer. Now that is the bees knees.