2017.04.25 : black holes

At dinner, an unexpectedly personal affair, we were discussing the differences in our ages. The conversation took a turn on the phrase “I have a body, like Adonis.” (Consider the placement of the comma.) Which quickly shifted us to discussing the nameless quality which goes by “sex appeal” or “fire” or … And the term settled upon was gravity.

Women are like black holes, he says. If you have a group of women in the room, and you can see the social space spread out around them, some of them will have more gravity and will pull the space in towards themselves.

Suddenly, all I can imagine is the gravity wells; at which point have people traveled far enough that they cannot escape? How do you measure the gravity of human being?

We’re used to comparing people to stars: they light up a room, people revolve around them, they sit at the heart of entire systems.

Black holes rotate entire galaxies. All theories of time travel and universal travel are posited on black hole theory because they mark the place where gravity has ripped a hole in space-time itself. What kind of a person has enough weight to rend the very fabric of reality?

The metaphor pulls me in:

A good friendship, a pleasant evening with a potential partner, all exist with some form of quantum uncertainty or relativity analogies. Time passes in uncertain ways, the entire universe can re-orient beneath your feet, things exist in simultaneous and contradictory states, sometimes it seems like the very atoms between two people are mirrored images of each other, knowing and known––

But none of this matters. Physics is not the language of romance or poetry. The mathematics are too complicated, and the uncertainty of the observable is all too parallel between the two. The game is no fun when it is this obvious.

But how do you measure the gravity of a human being? Can you recognize the moment you become trapped in the gravity well of their presence? Is there any choice other than to be crushed under the weight of it, until you travel beyond the moment you left behind, and discover what exists beyond the unanswerable question?

2017.03.31: exercises of the imagination

Sometimes, as I read the news, I try and imagine a different man as president. This other man has been duped into office.
He is a man of limited intellect and even less insight. He is hopelessly ill-equipped to do the job before him, and is scared to do it at all, because all of us fear failure, especially when others are watching.

This man is, moreover, at the mercy of people for whom planning is easy. These people have their own agendas, often in conflict with one another, and this man has no choice but to trust them. He cannot do the job himself. He cannot do the job at all.

This man is instead the lighting rod, the focal point, of all the mockery and the criticism of an entire country. He doesn’t understand why, exactly, because these plans aren’t his plans, the failures do not stem from him. Why is everyone laughing at him and calling him names? This isn’t how it was supposed to be. This isn’t how things were, before. Can we go back? Can it be like before?

He has to trust what people tell him: things will be okay, don’t worry, we have a plan, just go out there and let the people know you’re on their side. He does what he does best, but the heat never let’s up. People are handling things, so things will be okay. Things are not going well.

But I can’t keep this image in my mind for long. I can’t maintain sympathy. I never believed this would be easy, for anyone. I never thought it would be fun. I have never seen this as a choice to be made lightly.

The man in my imagination might exist, but I already promised I would stop forgiving ego, thoughtlessness, and stupidity. Bad judgement is no excuse for bad behavior. We teach our children that they are responsible for the choices they make, even when they didn’t mean for anything bad to happen. We teach them when they are young because it never stops being true. As you get older, the only thing that changes is how much damage you can do.

Sometimes, I imagine what sympathy for my President feels like. But I can’t hold onto it.

2017.03.01 : a dinner party

The lights are indirect, but bright so that you can see everyone’s faces. Ideally, conversation is easy, clumped here and there, the table might be best to be round, for maximum interlocution and ability to eavesdrop, but in my head, it is nevertheless, an elongated dinner table, with rounded corners, allowing the carefully planned seating arrangements to take on their intended effect and group the guests into little clumps.

Eventually, I’m sure that Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino would switch to Italian to carry on their conversation, although hopefully, for some of it, if they stick to the topic of literature and history, will be poachable. Contemporaries they are, it seems most plausible, but chance to sit and overhear is the matter at hand.

Near them, although turned to her neighbor, Virginia Woolf is likely arguing with Audre Lorde. I cannot imagine that their politics share nearly enough to encourage an amicable relationship, but hopefully there is a sparkle and flame of interchange. Common ground is still hoped for, because the dream of an intersection feminism should absolutely be transhistorical, as well as interracial and trans-national/-cultural.

At the beginning I’d maybe like to have her to myself, because I don’t know her quite so well, but Phillis Wheatley sits across from them. Sharp eyed and sharp tongued, I’m sure that she has plenty to say, and I hope the comfort the say it. Listening to her and Ms. Lorde would surely be a revelation; an unprecedented discourse of the African-American identity.

My hope is that they would stay late into the night.

Currently reading: Six Memos for the New Millennium, by Italo Calvino.
Photo: January 2017. Providence, RI.

2017.02.28 : hobbies: food.

8Sometimes we are Ouroboros; endlessly circling ourselves, unable to escape, trapped within the confines of our own thought-cycles.

Like a Lady in a Victorian novel, I’m lying in the dark, trying the calm the headache that has decided to take up residence between my temples. Exhaustion wars with boredom for the right to command my attention, and their bickering is, in itself, a trial. The trick is get them caught up in each other and to make one’s escape before either of them notice.

A surprise encounter with a friend became a pleasant extended lunch, an apology from serendipity for the absentminded abandonment of my homemade lunch. Instead of careful tupperware presentation—a single hardboiled egg cradled in a nest of salad leaves, waiting upon by squares of cheerful red pepper, on a pillow of baked sweet potato, resting on a bed of rice—I made do with the eco-recycled cardboard carry-out of a mass produced croque monsieur. The company was superior to the food, and allowed me to indulge in my distress at the unconcerned attitude towards digital privacy of a particular subset of my classmates and my favorite complaints about the election.

Today retraced old histories, starting sometime in the truly early hours of the morning, passed through a state of profound resolution, and is now slowly fading into the night in a state of ever increasing entropy.

But I met a cute dog named Luna, so not all is lost.

Currently reading: Six Memos for the New Millennium by Italo Calvino
Photo: Northampton, MA. 02.08.2017