The Calliope Crashed to the Ground, and I Was …

It’s funny how things can change in the blink of an eye. The weather, lives, [tag]feelings[/tag], thoughts – all of these things seem to be subject to change without notice, seemingly at the whim of the fates. Is it just a matter of the arrangement of the complex variables that make up our lives? A butterfly in Brazil flaps its wings and someone in Connecticut dies? Or is it that some supreme being is sitting around in the cosmic ether, drunk and bored, and just says “Screw it. Check this out.” And with the snap of Olympian fingers an otherwise seemingly adequate tire on a Pontiac Grand Am traveling south on Rt. 32 in Southern Ohio suddenly blows out. Are our feelings and actions nothing more than the manifestations of the [tag]random[/tag] nature of the universe? Or are we all caught up in some greater cosmic pattern, the nature of which we aren’t privy to? Are we akin to the electrons in the atoms of carbon that make up the plastic of the keys on which I’m typing at this very moment, blithely circling their nucleus, unaware that there is a vastly greater world just outside of their orbits? Are we all part of some large Einsteinian [tag]hidden variable theory[/tag], or are we regulated merely by the Uncertainty Principle? Are we creatures of free will, or pawns of fate and predestination? Or both?

I know, I know … the answer is 42. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Personally, I prefer to believe that we are self-determined creatures of free will, regardless of whether or not the universe is a place of order or random chaos. However, I’m sure there are some people in my life (correction – were in my life) recently who would believe that my actions of late are more symptomatic of [tag]Heisenberg[/tag], and I wouldn’t blame them. What can I say? I have a [tag]Gemini[/tag] rising sign, and even though I put more stock in the likes of Heisenberg and [tag]Einstein[/tag] than in my astrologer, I nevertheless tend to live up to the stereotype (must be the symbols tattooed on my calf). But questions of the Heisenberg Principle, free will and whether or not God shoots craps not withstanding, I had an [tag]epiphany[/tag] a week or so ago, thanks to the seemingly random event of witnessing someone walking his roommate’s dog. It wasn’t so much that he was walking this dog, but rather the circumstances under which he was walking it, at that particular point in time. Rather sad, if not outright pathetic circumstances.

Now, dear gentle reader, I know what you’re thinking – I wasn’t the one walking the dog; he wasn’t “this friend of mine.” I was truly a mere observer. But he is someone that I know casually, although I’m privy to some of the details of his personal life, and seeing this rather sad display made me take stock of certain aspects of my own personal life at that moment, aspects that have been troubling me for some months now (and were particularly troublesome right at that moment). In the blink of an eye I could see these troubling things laid out before me, like the corpse of a frog in biology class laid out on a dissecting table, the most intimate interior details of its organic self exposed. I could see this situation for what it was, and why I felt troubled. I could see that really the fault lay with no one but me, and consequently it was up to me to change things (that whole creatures-of-free-will-vs.-the-lambs-of-fate’s-slaughter belief).

This epiphany of mine also had an emotional component, as they so often do. Like water droplets evaporating on a hot day, my feelings for someone changed at that moment. Of course, dear reader, you just knew, didn’t you, in spite of my clever circumspection, that an example of the [tag]fairer sex[/tag] was mixed up in all this, didn’t you? Anyway, the Brazilian butterfly flapped its wings at me; the drunken god snapped his fingers in my general direction. My feelings didn’t change completely, of course, as I’m not a computer; there are some residual bits of emotional data lingering (I still couldn’t listen to The Cars on the way home from Athens this afternoon, goddammit). But for the most part, my emotional self was suddenly defragged. I know, because I inadvertently put myself to a test last Friday, a week later, and was pleasantly surprised at how I felt, or rather at what I didn’t feel. Surprised, because like most people, I suspect, my rational and emotional selves are frequently at odds with one another. Why is it that my brain, heart and genitalia so rarely ever agree on what they want? [tag]Siddhartha[/tag] was right; to have needs is to suffer.

To be honest, if I had known ahead of time that said test was going to occur, I probably would have avoided it. But as it is, I feel rather liberated, if surprised – and thankful — that my emotional winds have changed so quickly. Perhaps its just self preservation that brought about this violent swing of the emotional pendulum, a matter of being 38 and being self aware. When you’ve been diagnosed with and suffer from what used to be termed “clinical [tag]depression[/tag],” and choose not to treat it with anti-depressant drugs (no, I’m not a Scientologist, thank you very much), you either become self aware or end up dead, I believe. In any event, I fear for the future of the dog walker, in an academic-curiosity sorta way. At least, from my perspective, some good came out of his pathetic situation. He doesn’t know it, but I drank a pint of Guinness in his honor last night.

As for the rest of the denizens of this lurid tale, there is only this to say: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.