The Gentle News

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A Transcript Of A Future That Already Happened

April 10th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Stories

When your mortal coil is sufficiently shuffled and you stand in judgment by that force that once drove you to choose, right or wrong, how you treat the other entities in your custodial care, this is the recording you will review to decide for yourself whether you reach the final destination you desire. You will likely ruminate on whether this is really how it happened, or whether it is truly the same conversation by which all others have been and will be judged. Rest well in the knowledge that, yes, it is true. Dream vividly upon the comforting near-truth and practical falsity that the questions have infinite answers, for the truth is neither knowable to you nor relevant to your net worth.

The man skipped into the room. The non-objectified object of his desire sat in practical silence before a multipurpose computational device, directing the unwitting participants of her simulated universe to perform acts that both pleased and frustrated her.

“So, what do you think of my idea?” asked the man with glee, assuming in error that the woman knew what he was talking about.

“What idea?” responded the woman without diverting her attention from her game.

“They’re blowing up the stadium tomorrow morning. We should go watch it.” Generating this synthetic joy at the thought of seeing such destruction had required resurrecting a memory from his youth of watching a smaller building implosion with his family. He had spent so many computational cycles reliving another memory of picking up peppermint chews from the pavement after a parade that he no longer remembered how he had come to know about the demolition at hand.

The woman spun around in her office chair and objected, “That wasn’t your idea. I told you I wanted to go see it.”

“Oh,” said the man, “well it’s a great idea.” He knew this conclusion was sound, but wondered if he had somehow made a wrong turn in his mindful journey toward drawing it. “Doesn’t matter whose idea it was, it’s something that will only happen once, and it would be cool if we were there to see it.”

Her brow wrinkled as the corners of her lips tugged upward a bit. “Of course it matters whose ideas it was, and building implosions happen all the time. Maybe I’ll call my dad and see if he wants to go.”

They both stood confused, but over completely different and equally important concepts.

“I love you,” he said as she turned back to her important concept and he walked across the hall toward his. Before he reached it, he felt an unexplainable urge to mount his motorcycle, which he had originally purchased to impress the woman but now genuinely enjoyed riding despite her near-complete lack of interest in it. He rode to the corner store to buy cigarettes, which both he and the woman genuinely agreed should be eliminated from their diets soon.

The woman, much quicker than the man in every respect but one, had already changed clothes and kissed him goodbye to leave for her hair appointment within the time it had required him to decide and act upon his notion to ride the motorcycle.

Upon returning from the store, the man recalled an exchange in which the woman had mostly dismissed the idea of driving to the crowded spectacle in light of the knowledge that it would be televised. He could not remember whether the exchange had occurred on that day or on a prior one.

Absent from the truthful script of that conversation, but indelible in his fantasized record of it, was a lengthy debate over the practical difference between seeing a historical event directly and watching it on a high-definition display device. No matter how advanced telecommunication equipment gets, electrons carrying reproductions of photons in one place cannot reach any other place in a short enough time to truly call it live. Also, the quality of the reproduction, by and in definition, cannot be high enough to call it anything more than an interpretation of the event. Only those present and not tasked with capturing it with optical preservation devices could say they genuinely saw the genuine event.

The man later wished that the woman had pointed out that the impossibility of those photons reaching remote eyes instantly and the impossibility of completely reproducing a genuine image of a remote event were in fact the same thing. He wanted her to point out that he was being pompous and redundant.

The woman had much earlier lamented her unquenchable desire for intellectual stimulus. The man had dismissed her thirst as myopic. He held onto his naive faith that she would open her eyes and one day appreciate what she had rather than frequently wish for more. He would likely never make the sincere concession that he had the power to provide her with the interaction necessary to fulfill her thirst without sacrificing his own desire not to be charged with actively providing happiness to the object of his desire.

All of those conversations, the real ones and the imagined recollections of them, had long since ended.

The woman returned from her appointment and they discussed haircare products and haircare professionalism. She asked him to make her a sandwich. His genuine desire to do so was momentarily replaced with regret when she, much hungrier than he had realized, began to make her own sandwich. Determined, he snatched the knife from her and finished the job, telling himself he could make a much better sandwich for her, but knowing that she was far more capable of making it just the way she wanted. He squeaked out a genuine laugh at the obvious joke as he sliced the cheddar.

The woman probably would not have sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on the top of the sandwich as the man had, but neither would ever know if she genuinely preferred it with or without the added garnish.

The next morning, the non-subjected subject of the woman’s desire skipped into the room, kissed her forehead, and asked her what she would like for breakfast. She wondered if he would have commented on her haircut even if she hadn’t asked him to. She wondered if he had genuinely let go of correcting her grammar. She wondered if he noticed that she was not playing a game.

She was pouring genuine interest into a personal publishing project. A smile slapped them both in the face, and before she could punish herself with the realization that he probably didn’t know she hadn’t played the game for weeks, three small animals ran into the room. The two cats and one dog gave their respective opinions on what the humans should eat for breakfast.

They did not eat breakfast, but they had a genuine Sunday. On this Sunday, and for the first time since it was wrongly theorized to be universal truth, matter was neither created nor destroyed.

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