Archive for October, 2012

Alone Again, Naturally

Friday, October 26th, 2012

I went to a wedding recently and, of course, it got me to thinking about the whole love and togetherness thing. Theodore Sturgeon, the brilliant science fiction author, once said “You write a story about loneliness, and you grab them all because everybody’s an expert on that one.” But I’m not. Maybe I once was but I’m not now.

And God tells me that that surprises some people.

It was in the days when I was least alone that I think I might have known something about it. These days, when I’ve been living alone for a decade and a half, and out of romantic entanglements for much longer than that, loneliness is one of the furthest things from my mind. This isn’t to say that I want to be alone, but I don’t mind it. Actually, not only don’t I mind it, I much prefer it to many of the forms of being together that I’ve seen, and to most that I’ve been in, at least of the more-than-just-friends variety.

I like myself. I like spending time with myself. And according to God, that’s the biggest reason that I haven’t had a lasting relationship. It takes a certain desperation for most people to overcome the inherent complications of intimacy in order to form a union, in order to become a couple, with all the compromises and friction that that involves. And sure some of the friction, of the literal kind, actually helps to make it worthwhile, but much of it, of the metaphorical kind, doesn’t.

So while I might like to have someone around, someone to share the ups and downs, and the discoveries and the revisitations, I need a special kind of someone, someone who is happy with himself, someone who doesn’t need me and who won’t mind that I don’t need them. And someone like that? Well, they don’t have much motivation to find me.

So it’s a good thing I’m happy with myself. But then, maybe it would be an even better thing if, by way of incentive, I were just a little more familiar with being lonely.

All Aboard

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Sometimes it’s a thin line between hope and insanity.

By now most people have heard the expressino that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This works in a certain macro sense but doesn’t work on every scale. It’s sort of in conflict with The Butterfly Effect. And for the few of you that don’t know what that is, it’s the notion that in some large and complex systems, a very small input can end up producing a very large output. The canonical example being that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in The U.S. can end up causing a typhoon in India. A slightly easier to understand example is how a shout of winter joy can end up displacing a few flakes of snow, which in turn displace a few more, leading very quickly to an avalanche.

Of course, God points out that the reverse effects can be equally true. A butterfly’s flap could just as well prevent a typhoon as cause it, and few are the shouts that end up in tons of snow careening down a mountain.

But back to that thin line. Yesterday I arrived at the BART station just in time to hear that the next train due was being taken out of service at the station before mine, because of mechanical problems. This does cause a cascade effect of making trains run late for a while, but it’s not the lateness that I want to comment on, because there’s really not much hope in running late. But where there is hope, and hope to the level of insanity, is in the minds of the people trying to get on those late trains.

See, this happened right at the peak of rush hour, just as all the skyscrapers around my station in the financial district are starting to disgorge the main mass of their workers, all tired and ready to get home after a long day’s work. So not only was a train taken out of service that would have bled off the early arrivers, but while it was in the several minute process of being taken out, the not so early arrivers come pouring into the station. So now trains that were already going to be full are going to start resembling sardine cans.

And people at the front of the lines, when they see that there is no way to squeeze in through the train door where they are, will rush over to another nearby door, one where they can see people are not only not able to blithely walk aboard but where they are bunched up and trying to inch their way on. Yet somehow, even though this can be seen from two or three cars away, these people rush over, believing that they will be able to board.

And that’s why I say that there’s a fine line between hope and insanity.

Falling for It

Friday, October 12th, 2012

It’s the middle of October, so seasonally speaking, we’re in the midst of fall. I grew up in Los Angeles and then moved to Phoenix for a decade. All the books and movies that I consumed in my life either didn’t talk about the seasons, or made some pretty clear delineations between them. Fall is crisp, the leaves change color and drop from the branches, there’s a chill in the air, and the animals are packing away food to get them through the winter.

Or so I read.

As I said, I grew up in the southwest, and not in the mountains. One season is pretty much like the rest, the temperature goes up and down, sometimes it rains in the winter and spring, but in general, my reality and what went on in books didn’t much match. God told me this week that that’s part of why I naturally gravitated to Science Fiction and Fantasy, I was used to reading about things that didn’t match the world around me. I guess my attitude was basically, well, if the world I read about is going to be “made up” at least make it interesting.

One Step

Friday, October 5th, 2012

So it’s October again. This means I’ve completed six years of posts on unscriptured, and God and I have covered a lot of ground. Like many old friends we find ourselves often falling into familiar patterns, repeating old discussions, rehashing old insights. So while when I started I posted several times a week, I’m now down to just once. Sometimes it’s hard to find something new to say each week, but with God’s help I manage.

I’m not one for generally waxing nostalgic, so I’m not going to go all retrospective on you now. I’ll just give you two quick stats. One, I’ve made more than 450 posts. And two, those posts have totaled just short of 140,000 words. Those two numbers may or may not sound like a lot to you; by themselves they sound like a lot to me, but spread out over six years, they really aren’t all that much.

So I guess the lesson from God and me today is, a step at a time can actually take you pretty far.

Okay, I take it back, that lesson is just from me. God says he doesn’t want his name attached to something so trite.