Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Myopia in the Land of the Millepedes

Another whacky day on planet Earth, punctuated by a persistent growling rumble from an unspecified external source, although some sort of inner ear malfunction in progress cannot be entirely ruled out.

Outside, despite a sudden snow storm and continuing sub-zero temperatures, signs point to a seasonal shift. For the next 30 seconds, at least (30 seconds of visual ecstasy), the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the sheer swooning luminosity of which can literally blind a man. Whatever you do, don't look directly at them. Mass communal blossom viewing parties are arranged, in which thousands sit around happily averting their eyes. Paramedics in tinted goggles stand by, just in case.

Yesterday a couple of centipedes were spotted in the bathroom, a definite indicator of something.
Bug invasion imminent, residents hunker down, clutch cans of insecticide, pray to Jesus for a bug-free afterlife.
Hard to see the evolutionary point of a centipede - truly ugly insects, and seriously, who the hell needs a hundred legs?  Good thing they don't have to worry about finding jeans that fit.

Meanwhile, legions of elderly amblers have taken to the streets, culturally cajoled into believing that slow-as-a-funeral-procession walking can prolong life indefinitely. Oddly enough, statistics tend to bear this out. Hardly matters that it takes half a day to walk around the block. It's not as if these people have a whole lot else to do. Problem is, some of the ancient travelers leave their homes, start walking and almost immediately forget where they live.
 One neighborhood woman admits that she hasn't seen her grandfather in five days. I'm guessing she's sixty if she's a day, so you can understand the strain on my already overtaxed faculties trying to imagine how old her grandfather must me. I attempt to explain the fugue phenomenon to her, but she insists her musical aptitude is next to nil, so why bother?
"Just how old is your grandfather?" I ask her.
"I have no idea," she tells me. "But if you really want to know, we can go inside and ask his father."

In other news:  Talked to one of the kids, via Skype, whose connection was typically murky, a jittery, time-delayed jumble of sounds, mostly incoherent, highlighted by howling banshees simulations in the background. (for those of you who have never heard the howl of a banshee, consider yourselves lucky)
Think of trying to talk to someone in the Andromeda galaxy, using two Dixie cups and a very (very, very, very) long string.
Actually, if you did try to call someone in the Andromeda (aka M 31), it would take 1.5 million years for them to pick up the phone (or cup, as the case may be), and 3 million years for you to hear them say hello.
Not to suggest you shouldn't make the call, only that you should be prepared to be patient.

Note: The Andromeda galaxy is scheduled to collide with our own Milky Way galaxy in approximately 3.75 billion years. Probably too soon to add this cosmological certainty to our list of things to have anxiety about. Very little chance that any of us - with perhaps the exception of a select group of senior citizens from my neighborhood - will be around to see it happen.

Anyway, I couldn't be exactly sure what the kid was trying to tell me. There's a chance she was intentionally filtering her voice through one of those homemade fish aquariums. She either said that her new boyfriend works with plants, or believes he is a plant.  She either saw Chris Isaak in a San Francisco restaurant, or believes that the ghost of Issac Newton is currently haunting the San Francisco subway. As improbable as that would be.  But hey, San Francisco, right?

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